EU extends Russian sanctions despite Greek objections

World Today

The European Union has extended existing sanctions on Russia, but Greece’s new government has raised doubts over whether tougher measures will be added. CCTV’s Jack Barton reported this story from Brussels.

European Union foreign ministers called the for a meeting after dozens of Ukrainian civilians were killed in shelling from pro-Russian rebels on Saturday, shattering a five-month ceasefire.

EU extends Russian sanctions despite Greek objections

The European Union has extended existing sanctions on Russia, but Greece’s new government has raised doubts over whether tougher measures will be added. CCTV’s Jack Barton reported this story from Brussels.

Ministers agreed Thursday to extend existing Russian sanctions by six months and will add more individuals to an asset freeze and travel ban list.

“We hope that this can help put pressure in particular to make positive steps and prevent negative steps that we’ve seen in recent days,” Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU on Foreign Affairs said.

Foreign ministers fell short of a unanimous agreement to new sanctions.

Greece, which holds the power to veto, said did not use that option, but it did oppose tougher measures, however the country’s foreign minister chose not to elaborate.

“My job is to negotiate, and not explain to journalists whether I am a good or bad boy,” Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said.

Germany also wants a go-slow approach with new sanctions, but was clearly annoyed at Greece.

“It’s no secret the position of the new Greek government has not made the debate any easier,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs said.

Some EU countries have grown impatient with the escalating bloodshed in Ukraine.

Within the last week, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, repudiated what he described as “appeasement” towards Russia saying it was time to step up policies based on cold facts, not illusions.

EU members may also consider further sanctions, while the rift between Athens and the EU institutions appears to be deeper than disagreements over paying back bailout loans.