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Rinkevics expects sanctions against Russia to be extended

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUConsidering that Minsk Protocol remains unrealized, the European Union will extend the sanctions against Russia for a longer period of time, predicts Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics.

The Latvian minister, who is currently taking part in a gathering of NATO ministers in Brussels, notes that this matter will soon be discussed at the upcoming meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council. «From what I’ve heard from my colleagues, sanctions will be extended,» – he said, adding that it is a matter of EU credibility.

The minister also said that there will also be discussions on EU’s ability to enhance Normandy format talks. Much depends on Russia and its desire to resolve the situation.

At the same time, Rinkevics said that intensive work is carried out with Ukraine in regards to elements of the Minsk Protocol that need some clearing up.

«Minsk Protocol is far from completed. It is possible that we may see certain announcements before the final decision is made. But I have a feeling that reason and unity [in regards to extending sanctions] are currently forming,» – said the politician.

As previously reported, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini expects the EU will extend sanctions against Russia for its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. «EU heads of state or government had tied the lifting of the sanctions to a full implementation of the Minsk Agreements. So far, this has not been reached,» – Mogherini said.

The EU applied sanctions against Russia for the illegal annexation of Crimea and destabilization of Eastern Ukraine. The term of those sanctions ends at the end of July. In June, EU leaders will decide as to whether or not sanctions should be extended.

The Minsk Protocol was established in February 2015. Its goal is to secure peace and accomplish multiple political, economic and social measures to end the armed conflict in Ukraine.

Although armed violence has declined significantly, there has been very little progress has been achieved in other aspects of the Minsk Protocol.

Approximately 9,300 people were killed and more than 21,000 were injured in the Ukrainian conflict since April 2014.

Ref: 102.109.109.7852


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