Crimea, Sevastopol to face EU sanctions for one more year

EU economic sanctions on the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, put in place after their 2014 annexation by Russia, will remain through June 23, 2017, the European Union said Friday.

Relations between Brussels and Moscow have been severely tested by Moscow's actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, where it is accused of supporting pro-Russian separatists.

Separately, the EU is preparing to extend tough economic sanctions imposed directly on Russia for its course in Ukraine.

The restrictions renewed Friday are geographically limited to Crimea and Sevastopol, banning the import of products from there to the EU. European exports of goods and technology in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors - including oil and gas prospecting - are also prohibited.

European tourism operators are excluded from operating out of the two regions - meaning, for example, that European cruise ships can dock there only in case of emergency - while EU citizens and companies cannot invest or buy property in Crimea or Sevastopol.

Russian President Vladimir said Friday that the Western policy of unilateral actions breeds chaos, and that dialogue and mutually acceptable solutions are needed to prevent a return to the Cold War, in comments reported by the TASS news agency.

"If the policy of unilateral actions goes on, if steps in the international scene, very sensitive for the international community, are not coordinated, such [negative] consequences will be inevitable," he said in a speech at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

"If we turn an attentive ear to each other, if we look for a balance of interest, this will not happen."

Putin said he was interested in restoring relations with the European Union but cautioned that EU representatives had to meet him halfway.

"We harbour no grudge and are ready to meet our partners halfway, but this cannot be a one-way street," he said. "We need to return trust in Russian-European relations and restore the level of interaction."

The Russian president also reached out to Europeans cautious about overly close ties to the US, which he accused of being all too ready to interfere in domestic affairs and prevent stronger EU relations with Russia. For example, he said, worried European countries might want to consider joining a Eurasian partnership he is trying to form in Eastern Europe and Asia.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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