The European Union has prolonged its territorial sanctions on Crimea and Sevastpol by one year, until June 23, 2019, the EU Council said in a statement on Monday.
"On 18 June 2018, the Council extended the restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia until 23 June 2019," the statement read.
The sanctions, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, were due to expire this Saturday.
In 2014, a crisis in eastern Ukraine and Crimea's reunification with Russia following a referendum prompted the EU to introduce anti-Russian sanctions. Alongside diplomatic measures, such as suspension of the EU-Russia talks on visa matters, restrictive individual measures, such as asset freezes and travel bans for some Russian nationals, as well as economic sanctions, were among the adopted sanctions; they were limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol.
The Western countries accused Russia of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs, an allegation Moscow refutes, stressing that the referendum in Crimea was conducted in compliance with international law.