Russia: EU prolongs economic sanctions by six months
On 19 December 2016, the Council prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2017.
These measures were introduced on 31 July 2014 initially for one year in response to Russia's actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine. They were reinforced in September 2014. They target the financial, energy and defence sectors, and the area of dual-use goods.
On 19 March 2015, the European Council agreed to link the duration of the sanctions to the complete implementation of theMinsk agreements, which was foreseen to take place by 31 December 2015.
Since the Minsk agreements were not fully implemented by 31 December 2015, the Council extended the sanctions until 31 July 2016, and on 1 July 2016, until 31 January 2017. Having assessed the implementation of the Minsk agreements at the European Council meeting of 15 December, the EU heads of state and government paved the way to renew the sanctions for a further six months, until 31 July 2017. The Council formalised this decision on 19 December 2016 by written procedure and as it is the rule for all decisions on prolongation of restrictive measures, unanimously.