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EU Extends Sanctions Against Russia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron (file photo)

BRUSSELS -- European Union leaders have agreed to extend the bloc's economic sanctions against Russia by six months until January 31.

The 28 EU heads of state and government made the decision on June 22 during a two-day summit in Brussels after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron gave a briefing on how the Russia-backed insurgents and Ukrainian forces fighting in eastern Ukraine are adhering to the conditions in the Minsk agreements.

The Minsk agreements were forged by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine in Minsk in 2015 in an effort to end the fighting.

The sanctions, which mainly target Russia's banking and financial sectors, were first imposed by Brussels in June and July 2014 as a response to Russian aggression in the eastern part of Ukraine and the invasion and later illegal annexation of Crimea.

The sanctions package has been renewed every six months since then.

The EU member states' ambassadors will officially prolong the sanctions either at the end of June or beginning of July.

Earlier this week, the EU rolled over its investment ban on Crimea by another year.

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