BRUSSELS, December 15. /TASS/. The leaders of the EU countries at the summit in Brussels for the first time decided to extend sanctions against the Russian Federation without discussion and arguments. President of the European Council Donald Tusk said after the meeting.
"It is interesting but this time the leaders made a decision on sanctions without any discussion or arguments," he said.
A source in the European Union told TASS, that on Thursday night that "the leaders heard a report by the Normandy format participants by Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and President of France Emmanuel Macron on the implementation of the Minsk agreements." According to the source, the summit "noted the lack of progress on the Minsk agreements, which means green light for the extension of sanctions."
In March 2015, EU leaders linked decision to abolish economic sanctions against Russia with full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
The EU began imposing sanctions against Russia in connection with the events in Ukraine, which started in March 2014. On Thursday, on the sidelines of the EU summit, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said that the leaders of the community are united in their intention to renew the anti-Russian sanctions. A European diplomatic source explained to TASS that this means there are no objections to the automatic extension of restrictive measures, which would be made within the next week.
The EU’s economic sectoral sanctions against Russia are in effect until the end of January 2018. Thus, next week EU permanent representatives will extend them until July 31. These measures include financial restrictions on Russia’s leading defense and energy companies, as well as large banks with state participation. In addition, they imply a ban on imports of military and energy technology and high-tech equipment to Russia.
Sectoral measures are one of three sanctions packages adopted by the European Union against Russia. The other two are the blacklist of Russian individuals and legal entities, in force until March 2018, and a set of targeted sanctions (in force until June) in relation to Crimea, forbidding European businesses from maintain any connections with it. Each of these blocks will be extended independently.