European Union extends Crimea sanctions for a year | News | DW | 18.06.2018
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European Union extends Crimea sanctions for a year

The economic measures prevent EU citizens and companies from investing in Crimea and Sevastopol. Russia's annexation of the peninsula in 2014 prompted the sanctions.

The European Union extended economic sanctions on Crimea and its port city of Sevastopol on Monday. The 28-member bloc imposed the measures after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula four years ago.

The EU said it remains "firmly committed to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," reiterating that "it does not recognize and continues to condemn this violation of international law."

The measures — which will now stay in place until June 23, 2019 — ban the import of products originating in Crimea. They also prevent EU nationals or companies based in the bloc from investing or buying real estate in Crimea and Sevastopol, and ban EU cruise ships from docking there, except in an emergency.

The move comes three weeks after French lawmakers voted in favor of a resolution to lift parallel sanctions targeting Russia — currently set to expire at the end of next month — over its role in an ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. "(The sanctions are) totally ineffective today to solve this international crisis and are dangerous for France's interests," said conservative MP Thierry Mariani, who put forward the resolution.

Some French lawmakers also highlighted the importance of forming an "alliance" with Russia to fight the "Islamic State", a common enemy, and find a solution to the Syrian conflict.

Read more: French lawmakers vote for lifting EU sanctions against Russia

More than 10,000 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since an insurgency broke in April 2014 following the annexation of Crimea. The EU insists Russia must be held to account for its backing of the separatists in the conflict. Moscow has repeatedly denied support for the rebels and blames Brussels for aiding the overthrow of a legitimate government in Kiev, referring to the ouster of a pro-Russian president in February 2014 after three months of sometimes deadly protests.

Read more: Russia-Crimea bridge opened by Vladimir Putin

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kw/kms (AP, AFP, dpa)

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