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EU extends sanctions on Russia for further six months

The European Union has agreed to extend economic sanctions against Russia for a further six months from the current deadline of 31 July, EU sources say. 22 Jun 2015

An EU source said that no official decision has been made, but that in March the European Council linked the duration of sanctions to the "complete implementation of the Minsk agreements".

"As a consequence, EU member states yesterday unanimously agreed to legal acts that extend EU economic restrictions until 31 January 2016. The foreign affairs council on 22 June is expected to formally adopt these legal acts," the source said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would react to the decision on the "principle of reciprocity", and suggested that it may extend counter-sanctions that currently include a ban on Western food imports, Reuters said.

However, Peskov said that Moscow will wait for an official EU announcement before making any moves, Reuters said.

Igor Sechin, head of Russia's top oil producer Rosneft, told Reuters that the EU decision to renew sanctions was harmful to both Russia and the bloc.

"It willll affect everyone. First of all, manufacturers of technology that we buy in Europe. So I think this is not the right decision," Sechin said, according to Reuters.

Rosneft is 69% owned by the Russian state. It is trying to have the EU regulations giving effect to the sanctions annulled by the EU's General Court.

EU sanctions were first imposed on Russia on 31 July 2014 and are designed to discourage Russia from, in the words of the EU Regulation, "destabilising the situation in Ukraine".

The sanctions apply to all EU companies and persons operating anywhere in the world and to any overseas company and person when doing business within the EU.