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EU agrees to extend economic sanctions against Russia

The EU is set to prolonge sanctions against Russia.

Ambassadors from the 28 EU nations have agreed at a meeting in Brussels to extend sanctions on Russia until next January. 

The decision to prolong the sanctions, which expire at the end of July, will be ratified by EU foreign ministers next week, diplomats in Brussels said according to E24.

The sanctions on Russia’s energy, defense and financial sectors were imposed in July 2014 for one year. They were the EU’s response to Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea region and Russia’s support for separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The EU ambassadors also agreed to extend for a year the ban on imports from Crimea which was due to expire on June 23.

No decision was taken on extending the sanctions on 150 people and 37 organizations which were due to expire on September 15, Deutsche Welle reports.

Russian media quoted Finance Minister Anton Siluanov as saying that Moscow had already taken an extension of the measures into account in its economic planning, Moscow Times writes.

Russia will most likely not add any new countermeasures to the already existing food import bans from the European Union in response to Western sanctions, but will most likely extend them, Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Thursday.

“I think so, we must simply keep the status quo. The food embargo introduced in response to the sanctions regime from last year…If the sanctions regime continues, then the food embargo will continue, and this is of course a symmetrical measure and it can be extended with some sort of nuances,” Ulyukayev told RIA Novosti.

There has so far no been any official statement that Norway will follow the EU in the prolonged sanctions against Russia, but it is highly likely that this will follow shortly. Norway has since the start of the crisis in Ukraine stood together with the EU and other countries in the reactions against Russia, and implemented the same measures as the EU on July 31 2014, as BarentsObserver reported.