The European Union on Monday extended economic sanctions on Russia by another six months to keep up the pressure on Moscow over the conflict in east Ukraine, prompting a warning from Russia of a retaliatory ban on EU agricultural imports.

An EU statement said the extension was agreed without a new debate by EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg in response to “Russia’s destabilising role in eastern Ukraine”.

The sanctions include limiting access to some financial markets and a ban on certain technological exchanges between the bloc and Russia in the energy and defense sectors.

Enacted last July and extended in September, the sanctions had been due to expire next month. They are now expected to expire on January 31, 2016.

In response, Russia is expected to extend its ban on the import of many agricultural products from the EU, a restriction imposed last August as a countermeasure to the EU sanctions.

“Since they were extended, we will act on the principle of reciprocity,” said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Moscow in May released a blacklist of European Union politicians barred from Russia in response to the EU sanctions over Crimea and Ukraine.

FRANCE24


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