A senior European diplomat has suggested that western leaders meeting at the G20 summit in Turkey have agreed to extend sanctions imposed on Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis for 6 months until July 2016. The EU’s economic sanctions on Russia are currently due to expire at the end of January (see previous blog). The diplomat said that leaders, including the US President, German Chancellor, Italian and British Prime Ministers, and the French Foreign Minister, concluded that it was important to maintain pressure on Russia before scheduled elections in eastern Ukraine.
The EU’s sanctions regime on Russia prohibits (inter alia) financial transactions with major Russian state banks, bans the export to Russia of certain energy-exploration equipment, and prevents the sale of arms and some dual-use civilian goods to the country. A separate regime, currently due to expire on 15 March 2016 and not part of the reported agreement, imposes an EU-wide asset freeze and travel ban on people and entities said to be responsible for undermining the territorial integrity, independence, or security of Ukraine.