EU extends sanctions against Russia over Ukraine

Brussels, Jan 30 (IANS) The European Union (EU) has decided to extend the targeted sanctions against Russia by six months, until September, over the Ukraine crisis, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said here Thursday.

She said that the EU would frame proposals within a week to expand this blacklist and start preparatory work on measures, which can be taken to ensure the implementation of the Minsk agreement, according to a Xinhua report.
“We have decided to have a proposal within one week (for) further names of individuals and entities to be added to this list. That decision will be taken at the next foreign affairs council, Feb 9,” she said.
She said that the EU was ready to take further measures if the situation in Ukraine did not improve and instead, got worse, as has happened over the last few days.
On Saturday, the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol came under rocket fire, which hit an open-air market and nearby homes and shops and caused heavy casualties.
The attack led to the death of 30 people and wounded almost 100 others.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine, which started in April 2014, made an increasingly violent shift earlier this month, when rebels launched an offensive against government troops after peace talks scheduled in the Kazakh capital of Astana were cancelled.
Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France, which were due to take part in the negotiations, postponed their meeting, pointing towards the lack of progress in implementation of the previous peace deal signed in September 2014 in Minsk, Belarus.
Insurgents have been long seeking direct talks with the Ukrainian government over the crisis, but Kiev has repeatedly rejected the calls.