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EU SANCTIONS RENEWED AS FRANCE HINTS AT POSSIBLE SOFTENING OF POSITION AGAINST RUSSIA

Posted by: Gherson Extradition

EU SANCTIONS RENEWED AS FRANCE HINTS AT POSSIBLE SOFTENING OF POSITION AGAINST RUSSIA

Earlier this month, French President, Francois Hollande proposed a meeting of the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine in Paris to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

He stated that, in view of progress with regards to the ceasefire, he hopes to see an end to sanctions against Russia. The summit between Russian President Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's Francois Hollande will take place 2 October 2015 in Paris. Hollande has said that if local elections are held and political decentralisation reform is successful, then he would ask for sanctions to be lifted.

Speaking ahead of the 12th Annual Yalta European Strategy Conference in Ukraine, British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond described the situation in Ukraine as, "one of the biggest security challenges for Europe since the end of the Cold War" and has stated that the UK will "continue to work with EU partners to maintain pressure on Russia through sanctions until Russia implements its Minsk obligations and withdraws from Crimea".

On 12 September 2015, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk urged the West not to remove sanctions on Russia until the Minsk peace agreement is fully implemented and the separatist territories, including Crimea, are fully returned to Ukraine.

At the Yalta Conference, The United States appeared to support this position and has made it clear that it will maintain sanctions against Russia until Ukraine's territorial integrity is restored. Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State, said, "if and when Minsk is fully implemented, including return of Ukraine's sovereignty to its border, we can begin to roll back some sanctions, but if Minsk is further violated there will be more".

There have been reports of progress at recent official talks in Berlin between the foreign ministers of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France in preparation for the summit in Paris. Germany's top diplomat, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said the meeting had been, "less confrontational" than previous ones and that the warring sides were now "very close" to an agreement on withdrawing heavy weapons from the frontline.

In advance of the talks in Paris, the Council of the EU has prolonged the current sanctions targeting actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. The asset freeze and travel bans against 149 persons and 37 entities have now been extended until 15 March 2016.

Gherson continue to represent a significant number of individuals targeted by both EU and US Sanctions in view of the situation in Ukraine.

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