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EU Extends Ukraine-Related Sanctions On Russia For Another Six Months

Demonstrators gather outside the Russian Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania, to protest against Russian intervention in Ukraine in March 2014.

BRUSSELS -- European Union ambassadors have officially prolonged for another six months economic sanctions imposed on Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

The June 27 decision, which was widely anticipated, came after EU leaders last week unanimously gave the green light for a rollover of the measures, citing the lack of progress with implementing the so-called Minsk agreements.

Those are the agreements that aimed to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine, a conflict that has pit Ukrainian government forces against Russia-backed separatists and has killed more than 13,000 people since April 2014.

The EU sanctions mainly target Russia's energy and banking sectors, and were first imposed in the summer of 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of fighting.

The measures have been rolled over every six months ever since.

Cease-fire deals announced as part of the Minsk accords in September 2014 and February 2015 have failed to end the conflict.

Russia's Foreign Ministry criticized the latest extension of the sanctions, calling it "unconstructive" and "unlawful."

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