The Kremlin has expressed "regret" about U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to extend sanctions against Russia for another year in response to Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and its support for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Obama announced on March 2 that he was extending the sanctions. He said Russia's actions in Ukraine "continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."
The sanctions initially were imposed in March 2014 in response to actions by the Russian government in Ukraine that "undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation" of Ukraine’s assets.
U.S. sanctions specifically mention Russia's "purported annexation of Crimea and its use of force in Ukraine."
The European Union in December extended its sanctions against Russia until July 2016, and is due to decide in July whether another extension is merited.
With reporting by TASS and Interfax