BERLIN, June 19. /TASS/. The course of the implementation of the Minsk agreements on settling the conflict in Ukraine makes it impossible to lift the European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday after a videoconference meeting of the EU heads of state and government.
"Progress [in the implementation of the Minsk agreements] is not such that we can recommend not to extend the sanctions against Russia," she said. "So, we in the European Council decided today to extend the sanctions for six more months."
The current EU anti-Russian sanctions expire on July 31. Following the developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014, the European Union imposed sanctions against Russia, which have been extended and expanded regularly ever since. Talks on visa-free travel and a new framework cooperation agreement were suspended, a number of Russian officials were banned to enter the European Union and their assets were frozen. Apart from that, the European Union imposed trade, financial and defense-related restrictions. In response, Moscow imposed a ban on imports of a number of food products from the European Union.