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EU Extends Economic Sanctions on Russia


FILE - A supporter waves a European Union flag from a building top in Kyiv, Nov. 29, 2013.

European Union leaders extended tough economic sanctions leveled at Russia over the country's role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The decision, announced Thursday at an EU summit, will extend current restrictions against Moscow until July 2018.

"EU united on roll-over of economic sanctions on Russia," European Council President Donald Tusk posted on Twitter.

The sanctions, which target the financial, energy and defense industries and limit Russian access to EU markets, were first imposed in the summer of 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. They have been extended every six months since then.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko welcomed the extension.

FILE - Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko addresses the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, Oct. 11, 2017.
FILE - Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko addresses the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, Oct. 11, 2017.

"[It is] an important political decision by the leaders of the European Union to continue economic sanctions against Russia for violating Ukraine's territorial integrity and unwillingness to stop hybrid aggression against our country," Poroshenko wrote on his official Facebook page.

The EU has tied lifting the sanctions to Moscow implementing the Minsk peace agreement, which calls for an unconditional cease-fire and for both sides to pull heavy weapons from the frontlines in eastern Ukraine. The agreement, which was drafted in late 2014 and then re-worked in early 2015, has been violated almost daily.

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