00:59 GMT01 March 2021
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The EU Permanent Representatives Committee, which is the main preparatory body of the Council of the European Union, has agreed to extend Crimea-related sanctions on Russia, which are now set to be approved by the council, a source in EU bodies told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    According to the source, the permanent representatives considered extending restrictive measures against Russia's Crimea and Sevastopol at their Wednesday meeting and it is currently up to the council to finish the procedure.

    The Foreign Affairs Council is expected to meet in Luxembourg on June 17.

    On June 2018, the European Union prolonged its Crimea sanctions until June 23, 2019. These restrictive measures prohibit the EU residents and companies from buying real estate or enterprises in Crimea or financing Crimean companies. The bloc is still maintaining its ban for the European cruise ships to enter the peninsula's ports. The sanctions also apply to the exports of certain goods and technologies to Crimean companies.

    Crimea and Sevastopol held a referendum in March 2014 following a change of power in Kiev, which the peninsula viewed as a coup. The decision to reunite with Russia was backed by roughly 97 percent of Ukrainians who voted in the referendum.

    Five years later, the results of the vote and Crimea’s reunification with Russia are still viewed by Kiev authorities and the West as illegitimate.

    The West insists that Crimea "was annexed" by Russia and keeps on imposing sanctions on Russia under various pretexts. Moscow, however, stresses that the Crimean vote was held in accordance with international law.

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