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Putin extends countersanctions against Western countries until end of 2022

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (File photo by AFP)

President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree extending countersanctions against a number of Western countries that had imposed embargoes against Moscow over a conflict in Ukraine and in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The document extends embargoes until December 31, 2022.

“To extend from January 1 to December 31, 2022, the effect of certain special economic measures included in the decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 560 from August 6, 2014,” the Monday decree said.

The government bodies and institutions have been instructed to ensure its implementation. 

A number of Western countries, including the United States and Canada, and the European Union, imposed measures on Moscow in April 2014 targeting Russian officials and businesses. They included freezing accounts and restricting the country's ability to borrow money.

In response, President Putin approved tit-for-tat measures in August 2014 which banned imports of a number of food products from the US, the EU, Norway, Australia, and Canada.

With sanctions still in place against Russia, Putin had extended sanctions a number of times over the past year.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia have been deteriorating since 2014, when the then Ukrainian territory of Crimea voted in a referendum to fall under Russian sovereignty. The US and the European Union backed Kiev and refused to recognize the referendum results, later imposing sanctions on Moscow.

Ukraine as well as the EU and the US claim Russia has a hand in an ongoing conflict that erupted in the Donbass region of Ukraine between government forces and ethnic Russians in 2014. The West imposed sanctions on Russia after accusing it of interfering in the conflict. Moscow denies the allegation.

Russia insists that the entire mess began in early 2014 after the US and European allies aided and abetted the overthrow of a legitimate government in Ukraine.


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