EU Council extends economic sanctions against Russia
The European Union Council decided on Monday to extend sectoral economic sanctions against Russia until July 31, 2017.
The sanctions were first introduced on July 31, 2014 as a reaction to "Russia's actions destabilizing the situation in Ukraine." They were strengthened in September 2014. The measures affect Russia's financial, energy and defense sectors as well as "dual-purpose" industries.
Since the European Union tied sanctions toward Russia's fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, and the EU Council considered that Russia did not fulfill those agreements, they were extended on December 31, 2016 until July 31, 2016 and then later to January 31, 2017.
On December 15 the EU Council did not find reasons to lift or ease sanctions and agreed to extend them for a new six month period until July 31, 2017.