In a riposte to the European union extending sanctions against Russia until the end of 2017 President Vladimir Putin has extended his own counter-sanctions until the same date.
He has also suspended payments to the Council of Europe until the Russian delegation’s full rights are restored. All European food products are banned under the sanctions. The aviation and energy sectors have also been hit.
The sanctions are likely to have cost Europe hundreds of million of euros. The Italian, Polish and Finnish agricultural and German business sectors have been particularly badly hit. However key large-scale projects like the Nordstream gas pipeline into Germany have continued apace.
On Wednesday the EU formally extended its economic sanctions on Russia, imposed in July 2014 in response to Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and Moscow’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. they will remain, says Brussels, until Russia fully respects the Minsk agreement on Ukraine.
Putin recently claimed that the the sanctions had the beneficial effect of encouraging Russian agricultural and mineral output, and domestic production was beginning to replace the lost imports.