EU set to extend sanctions on Russian and Ukrainian individuals, firms – reports

© Francois Lenoir
The European Union has decided to extend sanctions imposed on a number of individuals and firms in Russia and eastern Ukraine until March 15, 2016, several media outlets reported citing diplomatic sources.

The decision was made at a meeting of senior EU officials on Wednesday, diplomatic sources told RIA Novosti, Interfax and the Wall Street Journal. The sanctions, which have been imposed on nearly 200 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and legal entities, are due to expire on September 15.

The extension of the restrictions is allegedly due to be signed by the EU Council without review in mid-September.

The WSJ reported that the EU is considering rolling over the sanctions in order “to maintain pressure on Moscow to fully implement the Minsk ceasefire terms by the end of this year.”

The list of sanctioned people and firms will not be changed, the diplomats said adding that only one person who has died will be excluded.

The EU imposed individual sanctions against 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials, subjecting them to asset freezes and travel bans in March 2014. Within a year the list was extended to 150 persons and 37 entities who, according to the EU, are “responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”. Moreover the restrictions were prolonged until September 15.

READ MORE: Russia, China against imposing will over sovereign states & attempts to rewrite history

The list included Russian Deputy Prime Ministers Dmitry Kozak and Dmitry Rogozin, as well as presidential aide Vladislav Surkov.

Moscow has repeatedly said that Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukrainian conflict are counter-productive. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called the restrictions “quirks of our Western partners.

In any way, we [Russia] are paying attention to sanctions, only from the point that we, inside our country, would be ready for such quirks of our Western partners, to be independent from them in the spheres which are vitally important for our country, for our citizens,” he said addressing students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) on Tuesday.