The restrictions introduced after the start of the Ukraine conflict will be in place for another year © Getty Images / Henrik Sorensen

The EU has extended sanctions imposed against Russia in connection with the conflict in Ukraine for another year, according to a European Council decision published on its website on Monday.

The restrictions will be up for renewal again in February 2025.

“As long as the Russian Federation’s illegal actions continue to violate the prohibition on the use of force, which is a serious breach of international law, it is appropriate to maintain in force all the measures currently imposed by the Union and to take additional measures, if necessary,” the document reads.

Brussels has placed 12 rounds of restrictions on Russia since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022 and is currently finalizing another package. The existing restrictions already target a broad range of sectors and include trade embargoes, travel bans and individual sanctions against Russian businessmen and public officials.

The EU has also frozen assets belonging to the Russian central bank, an estimated €196.6 billion ($211 billion) of which are held by the Belgium-based clearinghouse Euroclear. Brussels has been working on ways to seize the income generated from these funds – nearly €4.4 billion – to support Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday announced that the legal framework for the confiscation of the interest income is nearly ready.

“We have now initiated legal steps to ensure that the interest received from these [frozen] deposits does not belong to Russia. The legal situation is such that we can use these funds for Ukraine,” she said at a press briefing. She added that implementation of the plan will be undertaken “in the coming days.”

Moscow has condemned the sanctions imposed on it and has repeatedly warned that they hurt the EU more than Russia in economic terms. The Kremlin has also pledged to retaliate if any actions are taken targeting its assets held abroad, likening such a move to theft.

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