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EU Extends Anti-Russia Sanctions to Next March

Sept. 16, 2017 (EIRNS)—The European Union has decided to extend sanctions against Russia until March 15, 2018. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the extension was justified because "Europe" does not see progress in the Minsk II process. The latest initiative by Russia at the United Nations to prepare conditions for deployments of UN blue helmets in Ukraine, is "interesting," but "too small a plant yet to be viewed as a substantial change." Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel unlike the myopic Merkel is not insisting that the Minsk II agreement must be fully implemented before sanctions can be eased or dropped, but instead has repeatedly proposed partial sanction lifting along with steps in progress toward implementation. However, Gabriel also approved the extension of sanctions until March 2018. The EU sanctions against Russia, particularly on Crimea, will run until July 2018 anyway.