Italy's demand delays extension of EU sanctions against Russia: RFE/RL
Italy has once again delayed an attempt to extend the European Union's economic sanctions against the Russian Federation, despite an accord reached by EU diplomats earlier this week for sanctions to be prolonged by another six months, according to RFE/RL.
EU sources tell RFE/RL that Rome wants special language to be included in the conclusions of the EU’s June 28-29 summit before it signs off on the deal to extend the sanctions against Russia over the illegal annexation of Crimea and aggression against Ukraine.
Italy wants the summit conclusions to acknowledge a commitment for Brussels to review Russian policy later in 2016.
That move is similar to what happened in December 2015 when Rome agreed to extend the current sanctions through the end of July.
Read alsoPoroshenko, Merkel discuss anti-Russian sanctions, Minsk peace processEU diplomats told RFE/RL they have no doubt about the eventual extension of the sanctions, which target Russia’s banking and energy sectors as well as individuals in Russia.
Italy's move forces the final decision on sanctions' extension to be likely postponed until after the gathering of EU leaders in late June.
“The review of the EU's Russia policy is likely to be held in the autumn anyway, so it is a bit strange that they want this in writing,” one EU source told RFE/RL.
As UNIAN reported earlier, on June 21, the EU agreed to prolong sanctions at the COREPER level.
UNIAN memo. In March 2014, after the Russian troops invaded Crimea, Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula, having organized a sham "referendum" on self-determination. The self-proclaimed Crimean government said that 96.77% of participating voters had supported Crimea's accession to Russia. Ukraine designated the Crimean referendum as illegitimate. On March 18, 2014, the Kremlin signed the so-called "Treaty of Accession" regarding Crimea and Sevastopol, Russia's naval base in the Black Sea. Western countries did not recognize the annexation of Crimea and introduced a series of economic sanctions against Russia and Crimea.