Having convened for an extraordinary session on 29 January, the European Union Foreign Affairs Council decided to extend current sanctions against Moscow. New restrictions against Russia will be imposed only if the situation in eastern Ukraine does not improve or deteriorates. Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius has called the decision an optimal one.
Linas Linkevičius
© Reuters/Scanpix

The European Union has extended restrictions, asset freezes and visa bans, to officials from Russia, Crimea and Ukraine until September 2015. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told the media after the sitting that the Union would prepare a list of further names of individuals and entities to be included in the "blacklist" within ten days. However, additional measures will only be applied unless the situation in Ukraine improves.

Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius told ELTA news agency that the EU managed to maintain both solidarity and decency. According to him, Brussels has not rejected the possibility of imposing sectoral economic restrictions on Russia in the future.

"Main decisions have been made over a package of sanctions which had to be in force until March," the minister said on the phone from Brussels. "Work will continue regarding all other measures so that provisions of the Minsk Protocol are implemented. These other measures are sectoral sanctions and other necessary actions. The work will not be stopped and it has not been blocked."

The EU has imposed the first round of sanctions against Russia after it annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. The sanctions were extended last July after pro-Russian separatists were suspected of downing Malaysia Airlines passenger aircraft over occupied Ukrainian territory. Currently, the EU "blacklist" includes the names of 132 people and 28 enterprises, they are from Russia, Crimea and Ukraine.

According to EUobserver, new sanctions may target Russia's Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, Head of Russia's Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, the Kremlin's ideologist Alexander Dugin and other people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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