European Union sanctions over Ukraine prolonged until Sept 15


The presidential election in Russian Federation this month offers a new chance to make progress on the Minsk peace deal to end the crisis in Ukraine, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday, ruling out lifting sanctions before tangible progress. It said the measures were due to "actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine".

It said the other European Union measures in place in response to the Ukraine crisis included economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy and restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

"An assessment of the situation did not justify a change in the sanctions regime", the statement read. They continue to apply to 150 persons and 38 entities.

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European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is traveling to Kyiv on March 11 for talks with top Ukrainian government officials, ahead of the fourth anniversary of Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

After annexing Crimea in 2014, in a move that has not been recognized internationally, Russian Federation said it would not return the region.

The 2015 Minsk peace accords - brokered between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany - have failed to end fighting in eastern Ukraine that has killed 10,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more.

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