EU leaders, on Monday, December 19, extended economic sanctions against Russia until mid-2017, noting that the conditions of the Minsk peace deal have not been met.
The restrictions, which were due to expire on January 31, and have now been extended to July 31.
The sanctions prohibit the import and export of certain energy-related equipment and military material, and target five major state-owned Russian banks as well as some defense and energy companies. A further set of individual sanctions, targeting 152 people and 37 companies or other entities in Russia, is up for review early next year.
The EU has stressed that any abolition of the sanctions, which have been repeatedly extended in intervals of six months, requires the fulfillment of the Minsk peace agreement. EU leaders agreed at last week’s European Council that these requirements have not been met.
Questions have been raised over the effectiveness of the sanctions, and some member states appear to be less certain than others, perhaps with one eye on their own economic interests, or possibly as a result of outside pressure.
Our debate today will explore these issues.
Gary Cartwright is publisher of EU Today, an on-line news portal specialising in relationships between the EU, its member states, and third countries with a particular focus on the current geopolitical tensions between east and west.
Steve Komarnyckyj is a British Ukrainian translator who maintains strong links with his ancestral homeland and is the co director of Kalyna Language Press. He has won two PEN Awards for his work. His first book of original poetry, The August Rain, was published on 6 October 2016 was described by Sean Street as "The articulation of what it means to be human."
Andrejs Mamikins MEP, is a Latvian politician and former journalist, was elected to the European Parliament in 2014. He is a member of the Socialist and Democrat group, and sits on the parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Robert van Voren is a Dutch human rights activist and political scientist. He is a professor of Soviet and post-Soviet studies in the Ilia Satate Universityin Tbilisi (Georgia) and in the Vytautus Magnus University in Kaunas (Lithuania) as well as Chief Executive of the Global Initiative on Psychiatry. His contribution to reform of forensic psychiatry in states of the former Soviet Union is widely recognized.