EU extends economic sanctions against Russia till January 2018
June 29, 2017
The European Union has officially extended economic sanctions against Russia by six months until 31 January 2018. The sanctions specifically target Russian energy, defense and financial sectors.
EU headquarters announced the decision on 28 June 2017, saying that the verdict was unanimous among all 28 EU nations.
EU leaders endorsed the move last week at their summit in Brussels, agreeing that Russia had not done enough to respect the peace agreement aimed at ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The extension follows an update from President Macron and Chancellor Merkel to the European Council of 22-23 June 2017 on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements which led to the renewal of sanctions for a further six months.
The EU first slapped sanctions on Russia three years ago after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. The measures were announced on 31 July 2014 for one year in response to Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine.
In March 2015, the European Council agreed to link the duration of the sanctions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, which was foreseen to take place by 31 December 2015. Since the Minsk agreements have still not been fully implemented, the Council has prolonged the sanctions.
The economic sanctions prolonged by the 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;
- Restricting Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and services that can be used for oil production and exploration.
In addition to the economic sanctions, several EU measures have also been placed in response to the crisis in Ukraine including:
- Targeted individual restrictive measures, namely a visa ban and an asset freeze, currently against 150 people and 37 entities until 15 September 2017;
- Restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2018.