Russian government wants to extend counter sanctions on EU

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[June 29, 2017]    MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian government wants to extend counter sanctions on the European Union until the end of 2018, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in the rain during a wreath-laying ceremony marking the anniversary of the Nazi German invasion in 1941, by the Kremlin wall in Moscow, Russia June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Medvedev was speaking a day after the EU formally extended its economic sanctions on Russia, imposed in July 2014 following Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and Moscow's support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow denies direct involvement in the conflict despite NATO's assertions its troops are supporting the rebels.

Russia banned wholesale imports of fresh food products from many Western countries in 2014 in retaliation for the EU sanctions. Moscow says the counter-sanctions are helping spur the development of Russian agriculture.

(Reporting by Daria Korsunskaya; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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