EU extends economic sanctions against Russia….reports Asian Lite News
The European Union on Friday formally extended for six months its economic sanctions against specific sectors of the Russian economy, because of lack of full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
The penalties will be valid until January 31, 2017, the EU Council said in a statement.
These measures were introduced on July 31, 2014, initially for a period of one year, in response to the actions taken by Russia in Ukraine, and were strengthened in September of that year, Efe news reported.
On March 19, 2015, the European Council agreed to link the duration of sanctions to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, scheduled for December 31, 2015.
Since the Minsk agreements were not fully implemented by December 31, 2015, the Council extended the sanctions until July 31, 2016.
Having assessed the implementation of the agreements, the Council decided to extend the duration of sanctions for six more months, until January 31, 2017.
Putin in Finland
Russian President Vladimir Putin said here on Friday that Russia would respect Finland’s choice whether to join NATO but he painted a dire picture for Finland if it would be a NATO member.
Putin described the losses Finland would suffer as a NATO country. He said that NATO would be keen on fighting against Russia “to the last Finnish soldier alive”, Xinhua reported.
Putin warned that Finnish defence forces would no longer be independent but be part of NATO infrastructure that would reach the Russian borders.
Putin made the remarks at a joint press conference after holding talks with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto. He arrived at Niinisto’s summer residence in Naantali on Friday afternoon for a one-day working visit.
On his part, Niinisto said small steps could be taken to enhance confidence, referring to the situation in Ukraine and the tension in the Baltic Sea area.
Niinisto tied the possible dismantling of sanctions against Russia to the progress in peace talks on Ukraine crisis.
Putin claimed that Russia never provokes and he said the West created the situation in the Crimea and Ukraine through provocations. He said attempt is also being made to increase tension in the Baltic Sea.