The European Union (EU) agreed on Thursday to extend its economic sanctions against Russia, introduced after the country’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The sanctions, which target Russia’s financial, energy and defense industries and limit the country’s access to EU markets, would have expired at the end of January 2018. During a meeting in Brussels on Thursday, EU leaders decided to prolong the measures for an additional six months, Reuters reported.
“[The] EU united on roll-over of economic sanctions on Russia,” European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted on Thursday.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko reacted to the news positively on Thursday.
“[I] welcome [the] important political decision of the EU leaders to continue economic sanctions against Russia for violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity and its reluctance to stop its hybrid aggression against our state,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later said that the sanctions were "illegal and incorrect in their essence," the RBC business portal reported.
"We believe that such decisions are against the interests of the countries in the European Union," he said.
The EU’s sanctions against Russia were originally put in place in the summer of 2014 after the country’s March annexation of the Black Sea peninsula and Moscow’s support of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.