The Council of the EU has prolonged economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until January 31 2020, the Council said in a statement.
The decision follows an update from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French Emmanuel President Macron to the European Council of June 20-21 2019 on the state of implementation of the Minsk Agreements, to which the decision as to maintain the sanctions is linked, the statement said.
Following this update, the European Council called for an urgent resumption of negotiating efforts with a view to the implementation of the Minsk Agreements and for measures aimed at rebuilding confidence among the parties. In this context, EU leaders unanimously agreed to maintain the economic sanctions on Russia. The Council formalised this decision on June 27 by written procedure.
The measures target the financial, energy and defence sectors, and the area of dual-use goods. They were originally introduced in July 2014 for one year in response to Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine and strengthened in September 2014.
The economic sanctions prolonged by this decision include:
- limiting access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for five major Russian majority state-owned financial institutions and their majority-owned subsidiaries established outside of the EU, as well as three major Russian energy and three defence companies
- imposing an export and import ban on trade in arms
- establishing an export ban for dual-use goods for military use or military end users in Russia
- curtailing Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and services that can be used for oil production and exploration
In addition to these economic sanctions, several EU measures are also in place in response to the crisis in Ukraine including:
- targeted individual restrictive measures, namely a visa ban and an asset freeze currently against 170 individuals and 44 entities, in force until September 15 2019;
- restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, in force until June 23 2020.
The duration of the economic sanctions was linked by the European Council on March 19 2015 to the complete implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which was foreseen to take place by December 31 2015. Since this did not happen, the sanctions have remained in place, the EU statement said.