Economic sanctions on Crimea and its port city of Sevastopol were extended for one more year by the European Union on June 18. The 28-member bloc imposed the measures after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula four years ago.
The EU said it remains “firmly committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” reiterating that “it does not recognise and continues to condemn this violation of international law”.
The measures ban the import of products originating in Crimea. They also prevent EU nationals or companies based in the bloc from investing or buying real estate in Crimea and Sevastopol, and ban EU cruise ships from docking there, except in an emergency.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the extension comes three weeks after French lawmakers voted in favour of a resolution to lift parallel sanctions targeting Russia – currently set to expire at the end of next month – over its role in an ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“(The sanctions are) totally ineffective today to solve this international crisis and are dangerous for France’s interests,” said conservative MP Thierry Mariani, who put forward the resolution.
Some French lawmakers also highlighted the importance of forming an “alliance” with Russia to fight the “Islamic State”, a common enemy, and find a solution to the Syrian conflict.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since an insurgency broke in April 2014 following the annexation of Crimea. Though Moscow has decided support for the rebels, the EU insists Russia must be held to account for its backing of the separatists in the conflict.