BRUSSELS — The European Union on Thursday prolonged economic sanctions against Russia for six months for failing to live up to its commitments to the peace agreement in Ukraine, amid concern that Moscow may be preparing to invade its former Soviet neighbor.
The measures target Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors, as well as goods that can be used for both civilian and military purposes. The move is part of a rolling review, and is not linked to current tensions over Russia‘s military buildup near Ukraine.
The measures are part of a raft of sanctions slapped on Russia in 2014 after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, and are tied to respect of the 2015 Minsk peace deal. The EU renewed the sanctions, which will remain in place until at least July 31, because Russia “did not fully implement” the peace agreement.
The move limits Russian bank and company access to EU capital markets and outlaws financial assistance or brokering for Russian financial institutions. It halts all imports, exports or transfers of defense equipment, and limits Russia’s access to some “sensitive” technology used in oil production.
More than 14,000 people have been killed in fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
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