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Brussels extends Russia sanctions | New Europe



The European Union extended on 12 December the economic sanctions against Russia over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, for six more months.

The measures were first implemented in 2014 after Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, and were set to expire in January. According to the United Nations, about 13,000 people have died since the beginning of the conflict.

The announcement follows the Paris meeting between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky. During the meeting, they agreed a ceasefire and a prisoner exchange, but failed to agree on other key issues.

The talks were mediated by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who, after the meeting, recommended an extension of the restrictive measures against Moscow, till the end of July 2020.

The EU’s economic sanctions against Russia include: limited access to EU capital markets for certain Russian banks and companies; export and import ban on trade in arms; export ban for dual-use goods for military use or military end users in Russia; as well as reducing Russian access to technologies that can be used for oil production.



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Leaders of UK, France, Germany, Turkey discuss Syria



Ahead of the two-day NATO summit in London, four countries discussed their efforts to end the conflict in Syria.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met at the prime ministerial residence in London.

According to a statement from the British Prime Minister’s office, the leaders agreed that attacks against Syrian civilians, including in the rebel-held area of Idlib, must end.

The leaders vowed to work for creating conditions for safe return of refugees, and agreed the fight against terrorism in all its forms must continue. They also discussed Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring targeting the terrorist YPG/PKK in northern Syria. Merkel described the meeting as “good and useful”.

Erdogan also described the meeting as good, and added that developments regarding the operation “will be evaluated”.

In October, Turkey launched Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria, in order to secure Turkey’s borders and aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees. Later, the operation was paused to allow the withdrawal of the terrorists from the planned Syria safe zone, but they, instead, continued attacking soldiers and civilians.



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