EU extends economic sanctions against Russia for six months

European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 12, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union nations formally extended economic sanctions against Russia on Thursday by six months until July 31, the grouping of EU countries known as the European Council said on Thursday.

The decision followed an update by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to fellow EU leaders at last week’s summit on the state of the Minsk agreements, designed to bring peace to eastern Ukraine after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

“Given that the Minsk agreements are not fully implemented, the European Council unanimously took the political decision to renew the economic sanctions against Russia,” the Council said in a statement.

Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; editing by Philip Blenkinsop