EU calls on Russia to withdraw new trade rules for eastern Ukraine

 Bloc deplores Russian presidential decree saying it violates Ukraine’s sovereignty, undermines peace agreement.

BRUSSELS (AA) – The European Union on Wednesday called on Russia to withdraw the simplified trade rules for Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions because it violates the country’s territorial integrity.

In a statement released by the office of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, the bloc condemned the Russian presidential decree on simplified trade measures to boost commerce between Russia and Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

“We call on Russia to revoke this decision and to stop taking unilateral measures that only provoke further aggravation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine,” the document said.

According to the EU, the decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Nov. 15 “aims to further separate the temporarily non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk” and “violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including with regard to customs control.”

The statement goes on to say that the Russian measures are against the objectives of the Minsk Agreements meant to establish peace in Eastern Ukraine.

In 2014, Moscow began to support separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the central government, a policy that it has maintained for the past seven years.

The EU has been applying restrictive measures in response to the Ukrainian crisis since 2014.

Currently, 185 people and 48 entities are on the bloc’s blacklist for violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Economic sanctions on the Russian finance, energy, and defense sectors are also in place because of Moscow’s reluctance to fully implement the Minsk Agreements.


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