The European Union today extended its sanctions on Russia by six months. This temporary extension, as a result of Russia’s failure to meet the terms of the Minsk agreement, was largely expected, but it comes as major European powers find themselves torn between competing priorities regarding Russia.
Germany, the European Union’s most influential power, has mixed priorities when it comes to Russia and Ukraine. Russia is a major provider of raw materials for German industry and German businesses have suffered due to the sanctions regime. At the same time, Germany as a major exporter is heavily dependent on markets within the European Union, which is facing significant political and financial challenges. Germany, therefore, needs as much stability as possible on the continent, allowing the country to import materials and export goods unhindered, and it is not in the country’s interest to have an armed conflict in the east.
Like France and the United States, policy-makers in Be