Tuesday, June 21, 2016

E.U. to extend Russian sanctions, amid signs unity is fraying

June 21, 2016 (Ukraine Today) European leaders insist resctrictions to be kept unless Minsk agreements fully implemented. The European Union is preparing to extend sanctions against Russiafor another six months this week, but what happens after that is uncertain as cracks in the bloc's unity have begun to show. The E.U. top diplomats are expected to agree to prolong the sanctions, which expire at the end of July, at a meeting in Luxembourg on June 21st, though E.U. leaders will not give them a formal blessing until their summit in Brussels next week.
To this point, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has firmly guided the bloc toward maintaining sanctions, keeping Russia-friendly members of her own government on the sidelines while convincing skeptical states like Slovakia, Hungary, and Italy to set aside their objections and go along. But Merkel can no longer hide growing evidence that the mood in Berlin is shifting in favor of Russia in what may be the first sign of a serious break in the European consensus.