US President Obama Extends Anti-Russia Sanctions until 2017

US President Obama Extends Anti-Russia Sanctions until 2017
Thu Mar 3, 2016 18:26:39

US President Barack Obama has signed a new Executive Order that extends economic sanctions against Russia for another year.

The decree, published Wednesday on the official White House website, states that economic and financial sanctions imposed on Moscow over its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis will stay in place until March 6, 2017.

The decision came as “Russia's actions continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” Obama said in the document.

“I found that the actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets,” the president added.

The move drew criticism from the Kremlin, with Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling reporters on Thursday that the decision was regrettable.

The sanctions were originally introduced against Moscow in March 2014, after Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea joined Russia. The move prompted the US to press sanctions against Russia’s energy and finance sectors.

The European Union followed suit shortly after, introducing its own set of sanctions against Moscow that targeted a number of Russian politicians and businessmen, and placed restrictions on lending to Russia’s major state-owned banks, military and oil firms.

On the military side, exporting dual-use equipment to Russia was banned and all future EU-Moscow military deals were put on hold.

According to EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic, the bans sought to force Russia to comply with the ceasefire introduced by the Minsk agreement.

Putin signed the agreement with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in February last year, following negotiations held in the presence of French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The deal introduces a complete ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weaponry from border areas, and holding free elections in the region.

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