Unanimous EU Extends Russia Sanctions

The European Union has extended the sanctions against Russia by six months. The sanctions were activated in 2014 as a response to the Russian annexation of the Crimea. Later the sanctions were linked to the carrying out of the Minsk accords, which aim for a cease fire in Eastern Ukraine. For now the country remains full of unrest.

Unlike previous extensions there was little attention paid to it in the run up. In previous years when the decision was made there was some protests from member states, national government or lower government. Donald Tusk, president of the European Commission, summed it up in a Tweet: “EU united on roll-over of economic sanctions on Russia.”

This decision has no short term consequences on the boycott of fruit and vegetables from Europe that Russia imposed as a response to the sanctions. Russia announced they would be maintaining the boycott until the end of 2018 when the sanctions were last extended. In the European Parliament last month there were parliamentarians who agreed that the EU should be doing more to tackle the consequences of the boycott. European Commissioner Hogan responded that there were enough measures in place to limit the damage of the boycott.

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European Union Extends Sanctions Against Russia over Ukraine

The European Union has extended sanctions by a further six months against dozens of Russian citizens and companies deemed to have a role in threatening the stability and independence of Ukraine.

EU headquarters said Thursday the restrictive measures have been prolonged until March 14 and now apply to 149 individuals and 38 entities. It said the sanctions are in response to “actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

The EU first imposed the sanctions after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and supported pro-Russia separatists fighting Ukrainian forces in Ukraine’s east.

The bloc has repeatedly extended the sanctions as the conflict continues. A 2015 peace deal helped reduce the scale of fighting, but violence continues.

www.abcnews.go.com

EU Fruit Still Slipping into Russia Despite Sanctions

Despite ongoing sanctions imposed by Moscow on fruit and vegetables from European Union countries in response to EU measures banning the sale of produce from Russia, large quantities of fruit such as nectarines and peaches from the bloc’s warmer member-states, including Greece, Italy and Spain, are reaching Moscow shelves in a steady supply, with Belarus-based middlemen seen as the prime suspects in the illicit trade.

Belarusian traders are suspected of slipping through the sanctions net and passing off Mediterranean fruit exports as their own – likely with the assistance of Russian officials.

Initial reports of a doubling of Belarus exports of nectarines and peaches to Russia failed to raise eyebrows, even though the landlocked Eastern European country is not a major producer of either fruit.

It later became apparent that produce hailing from Italy and Spain was reaching the Russian market.

Recent reports have indicated that traders with links to the Russian market are sweeping through northern Greece, a key crop-growing region, and buying large quantities of fruit including nectarines and peaches.

A recent survey conducted by Kathimerini confirmed that Greek produce is widely available at retail outlets in the Russian capital.

Russia largely depends on imports for its fruit and vegetable supply.

Last year, the authenticity of trade documents certifying the origin of products exported by Belarus had been questioned by Russian officials.

Despite the EU-Russia sanctions, Greek traders are well aware of the fact that it is still possible to export to the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), a five-member common market with a combined GDP of more than 3 trillion dollars comprising Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

Getting cargo into any of Russia’s fellow EEC members enables unobstructed entry into the Russian market.

Meanwhile, Greek olive oil exports to Russia – the product category is not included in the sanctions – have almost doubled, rising by 91 percent to 3.1 million dollars’ worth of trade in the first half of 2016, compared to 1.6 million dollars during the same period a year earlier.

www.ekathimerini.com

Decision on Extending EU Sanctions against Russia Comes into Force

The decision to extend the economic sectoral anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) by six months, until January 31, 2017, has come into force, the Council of the European Union said in its resolution published in the EU’s Official Journal on Thursday.

According to the EU, this decision followed a report by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the EU summit on the implementation of the Minsk agreements on June 22-23. That paved the way for extending the sanctions for six months, the Council of the European Union said.

This is a purely technical move, since a political decision to extend sanctions was made at the EU summit on June 22. The package of anti-Russian economic restrictive measures was last extended in January 2017 until July 31.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov earlier told reporters that the EU’s anti-Russian sanctions cannot help Brussels achieve its goals in relations with Moscow, and the decision on their extension is regrettable. “It has long been clear to everyone that sanctions are counterproductive, that they are not able to tackle any tasks assigned by the European Union in terms of its relations with Russia,” he said. “Independent EU experts have repeatedly provided figures showing that the sanctions and our countermeasures affect, above all, the economies of the EU member-countries.”

The European Union began to impose sanctions against Russia over developments in Ukraine in March 2014. The decision about anti-Russian restrictive measures was made at the EU’s emergency summit on March 6, 2014. It was also announced that the Russia-EU summit scheduled for June 2014 had been cancelled and negotiations on a visa-free travel and a new framework cooperation agreement had been suspended. Later, the EU imposed three packages of sanctions on Russia, specifically, visa restrictions against some Russian state-owned oil, defense and financial companies (extended until January 31, 2018) along with restrictive measures against Crimea (extended until June 23, 2018).

www.tass.com

 

Turkish Export to Russia Starting

The first Turkish strawberries and grapes have been exported to Russia, according to Turkish media based on data from the Turkish customs. Russia supposedly imported 322 tonnes of strawberries and three tonnes of grapes. This means the sanctions have been officially lifted. Tomatoes are still being boycotted, although it’s assumed the boycott will be lifted between November and April. Last week, the Russian State Secretary of Economic Development announced they were starting the negotiations regarding this dossier. Russia wants to protect the investments that have been made in the cultivation of tomatoes, which is why the boycott is still in effect officially.

Sudan is also picking up exports to Russia. The African country wants to export fruit and vegetables to Russia for the first time ever, according to the ambassador in Moscow. In recent years, trade between the two countries improved considerably. Last year, trade was 150 per cent higher than in 2015.

The EU extended the sanctions against the Crimea by one year. The sanctions against the annexed peninsula will now be in effect until 23 June 2018. The EU will soon also have to decide about extending the sanctions against Russia. It is expected these sanctions will once again be extended by six months.

www.freshplaza.com

 

EU Extends Sanctions against Russia

On 19 December 2016, the Council prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2017.

These measures were introduced on 31 July 2014 initially for one year in response to Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine. They were reinforced in September 2014. They target the financial, energy and defence sectors, and the area of dual-use goods.

On 19 March 2015, the European Council agreed to link the duration of the sanctions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, which was foreseen to take place by 31 December 2015.

Since the Minsk agreements were not fully implemented by 31 December 2015, the Council extended the sanctions until 31 July 2016, and on 1 July 2016, until 31 January 2017. Having assessed the implementation of the Minsk agreements at the European Council meeting of 15 December, the EU heads of state and government paved the way to renew the sanctions for a further six months, until 31 July 2017. The Council formalised this decision on 19 December 2016 by written procedure and as it is the rule for all decisions on prolongation of restrictive measures, unanimously.

The European Union extended economic sanctions against Russia by six months on Monday after completing the legislative process for a decision endorsed last week by national leaders at an EU summit.

Sanctions introduced in July 2014 in response to Russian action in Ukraine will now run until July 31, 2017, the European Council confirmed in a statement.

www.consilium.europa.eu

Russia’s 2017-2019 budget drafted based on assumptions that the sanctions will remain till 2019

Russia’s 2017-2019 budget is being drafted based on a cautious outlook and the assumption that US and EU sanctions will remain intact, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the government commission on budget projections Friday.

“As has been repeatedly discussed, we cautiously assess the economic situation in the world markets from a conservative viewpoint. In particular, over the fairly low trajectory of oil prices in the range of $40 per barrel of the Urals brand over the next three years, and the possible retention of sanctions until the end of the forecast period,” Medvedev said.

The Russian Federal Treasury, meanwhile, said earlier in the day that January-September 2016 budget deficit totaled 1.58 trillion rubles ($25.3 billion), double the deficit recorded in the same period last year.

The draft has to be completed on October 28.

www.sputniknews.com

EU renews Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia

The European Union is extending for six months the sanctions targeting people and entities involved in what the EU considers Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. The extension, officially announced Thursday, consists of an asset freeze and a ban on EU travel, and affects 146 individuals and 37 entities.

The measures, originally introduced in 2014, were last extended in March, the EU said in a statement. The latest action endorsed by representatives from the 28 EU member states means the punitive measures can remain in force through March 15, 2017.

On September 1, the United States has added 37 individuals and entities to its sanctions blacklist aimed at Russia over its continuing support for separatists in eastern Ukraine and the 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. The United States blacklisted a number of Russian companies operating in Crimea, including construction firms Mostotrest and SGM-Most which have been helping to build a bridge from Russia to the peninsula. Six separatist representatives in eastern Ukraine and 11 officials in Crimea were also sanctioned.

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Belgium parliament to consider resolution on lifting EU sanctions against Russia

Belgium’s parliament has registered for further consideration a resolution on lifting of the European Union’s sanctions against Russia, author of the draft resolution MP Aldo Carcaci told TASS on Sunday.

The member of the parliament said the draft resolution discussion may be organized after the parliamentary holidays.

The EU economic sanctions against Russia remain in force to January 31, 2017. This autumn, the EU Council will have a wide discussion on further relations between the European Union and Russia, including milder sanctions or lifting them.

www.tass.ru

Brexit unlikely to affect EU sanctions

The political decision to extend the anti-Russian economic sanctions to 31 January 2017 has been already made, and the situation with the British referendum on leaving the EU cannot influence the decision. The EU Committee made the decision to extend economic sanctions against Russia for six months on June 21. This decision will come into force after the formal approval of the EU Council.

As it was reported earlier, the UK leaves the EU after a referendum held in Britain on Thursday. 51.9% voted for secession from the European Union.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that the UK vote to leave the EU is unlikely to impact Europe’s decision to prolong sanctions on Russia. The sanctions are to be renewed before 31 July pending parliamentary approval in France, Sweden and the UK. “This [sanctions] process is discussed irrespective of Britain”, he told. He said Russia “is interested in the EU being economically strong, prosperous, stable and predictable. I would like to repeat what has already been said by President Putin: Brexit is a domestic issue of the United Kingdom and the issue of its relations with the E.U. The European Union is Russia’s very important trade and investment partner”.

At the same time, The Wall Street Journal notes that the British decision to leave the EU can destroy the unity of European countries on the issue of sanctions against Russia, as the UK supported Germany.

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