During a meeting in Luxembourg, the European Union announced that they are extending economic sanctions against the Russian Federation until they “comply with the Minsk ceasefire” for Ukraine. The February ceasefire ended fighting in the Eastern Ukrianian Civil War, and continues to hold, albeit with intermittent violations.
The US and Western European nations have continued the narrative that the ceasefire isn’t holding enough, and it’s all Russia’s fault, and managed to convince the rest of the EU to extend the sanctions through the end of January 2016.
Russian officials blasted the announcement, vowing that they will impose countersanctions against the EU in retaliation. The tit-for-tat sanctions have hurt Russia somewhat, but have hurt Eastern European EU members far worse, which makes it surprising they signed of on the extension of the sanctions battle.
Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov was harshly critical of the timing of the announcement as well, noting that today is the Day of Memory and Sorrow, a day during which Russia honors WW2 victims, and accused the EU of timing the sanctions specifically as a slight to Russia in that regard.
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