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Russia extends tit-for-tat sanctions against EU over Ukraine

By Eric DuVall
Russia extends tit-for-tat sanctions against EU over Ukraine
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) greets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin upon his arrival at the Chateau de Versailles in May. Russia and the EU extended their mutual economic sanctions in the wake of continued violence in eastern Ukraine. File Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | License Photo

June 30 (UPI) -- The Russian government this week extended sanctions against the European Union through 2018, one day after the EU did the same to Russia, the Kremlin said.

The diplomatic and economic tit-for-tat dates back to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. At the time European allies and the United States put strict economic sanctions in place against Russian businesses and oligarchs with ties to President Vladimir Putin as a means of punishment for Russian aggression in eastern Europe.

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The sanctions, backed by Germany and France, have continued while violence persists in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists. Germany and France have acted as mediators attempting to broker a peaceful resolution to the situation, but have failed to overcome Russian interference.

Russia has denied it is involved in the conflict, or that it has provided military and material support to the separatist militants.

"In this situation, we will respond adequately, yesterday we discussed this issue with the president," Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. "The government will propose to the president that the counter measures should be extended for another year until December 31, 2018."

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