EU extends sanctions against Russia over Ukraine

Konstantin Cherginsky  TASS

Konstantin Cherginsky TASS

The United States and Canada are seeking to find a pretext to begin supplies of lethal weapons to Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

This has been stated by EU President Donald Tusk in his tweet message after leaders discussed the issue at a summit in Brussels.

European Union leaders agreed on Thursday to prolong for another six months the bloc's economic sanctions on Russian Federation, imposed over the annexation of Ukraine's peninsula of Crimea and Moscow's support for rebels in east Ukraine.

Thursday's extension had been widely expected.

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Moscow said yesterday it "regrets" the decision. "And as it has turned out, American concerns, in particular AirTronic USA, the manufacturer of portable grenade launchers, has been supplying weapons to Kiev with behind-the-scenes consent from the State Department and Pentagon, despite the US' official statements that there are no final decisions on that matter".

When imposing the sanctions, the European Union said they were "in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and deliberate destabilization of a neighboring sovereign country".

The EU measures, which mainly target the Russian banking and energy sectors, were first imposed in the summer of 2014 and have been extended every six months since then. "At present gas for Turkey passes through Bulgaria, when Turkish Stream is ready, it will stop, and in order not to leave the pipes empty, we agreed to have our interconnector with Turkey ready on July 1, said Borisov".

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