The Council of the European Union extended economic sanctions against particular sectors of the Russian economy for another six months. The sanctions will be in effect until July 31, 2020. The decision was made after French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on December 12 informed the European Council on the progress in implementing the Minsk agreements by Russia, to which the extension of sanctions is related.
“Given that the Minsk agreements are not fully implemented, the European Council unanimously took the political decision to renew the economic sanctions against Russia,” reads the message of EU Council's press release on December 19.
The document notes that the European Council unanimously adopted a political decision on the extension of economic sanctions against Russia. Punitive measures are aimed at the financial, energy, and defense sectors of the Russian economy, as well as against dual-use goods.
The one-year sanctions were initially imposed on July 31, 2014, in response to Russia's actions to destabilize the situation in Ukraine. The sanctions were expanded in September 2014.
The sanctions restrict the access of five large mainly state-owned Russian financial institutions, as well as three large energy and three defense companies to the primary and secondary capital markets in the EU, prohibit the export and import of arms, as well as the export of dual-use goods for military use in Russia and restrict Russia's access to certain technologies and services that can be used for oil production and refining.