European Council extends economic sanctions against Russia for 6 months
The foreign ministers from EU member states have approved a six-month extension of economic sanctions against Russia, a statement released in Brussels on Monday said.
"The Council today decided to prolong the sanctions targeting specific economic sectors of the Russian Federation for a further six months, until 31 January 2022," the statement said.
The Council made the decision following the latest assessment of the fulfillment of the Minsk Agreements at a meeting held on June 24-25, 2021.
The EU economic sanctions against Russia are prolonged every six months following political decisions of the EU summits based on the assessment of the implementation of the Minsk Agreements on the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine by reports from the countries of the Normandy format, Germany and France.
The decree, which is legally binding, is adopted by the Council of the European Union, and the prolongation of the restrictive measures comes into force after the legislative act is published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The economic sanctions were initially introduced on July 31, 2014 for a period of one year in retaliation to "Russia's actions destabilizing the situation in Ukraine." The measures were reinforced in September 2014.
On March 19, 2015, the Council of the European Union decided to link the duration of the economic sanctions to the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which, as was envisaged at that time, was to be implemented by December 31, 2015.
Given that these plans did not materialize, the Council of the European Union prolonged the economic sanctions until July 31, 2016. The restrictive measures have been prolonged every six months since July 2016.
The economic sanctions include: restrictions on access to primary and secondary capital markets of the EU to five Russian financial establishments with a majority share of the state in the charter capital and their subsidiaries, in which these organizations have a majority share and which were founded outside the EU, as well as for three large Russian energy companies and three defense companies; export and import ban on arms trade; the imposition of a ban on the export to Russia of dual-purpose goods for military purposes or for the Russian army; restriction of Russia's access to some strategic technologies and services that can be used for the development and extraction of oil.
Besides economic sanctions, Russia is also under other EU restrictive measures in retaliation to the Ukrainian crisis: individual measures and measures taken in regard to "the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol."