The Council of the European Union has decided to prolong EU economic sanctions against Russia until July 31, 2016.

The sanctions were initially introduced for one year on July 31, 2014, in response to Russia’s actions in the east of Ukraine.

In response to the EU’s economic sanctions, Russia put an embargo on food imports from the EU, which included dairy products.

Earlier this year, the Council prolonged the duration of the measures by six months until January 31, 2016.

A statement from the Council said that this followed an agreement in the European Council in March 2015, when EU leaders linked the duration of the sanctions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, which was foreseen to take place by December 31, 2015.

However, since the Minsk agreements will not be fully implemented by December 31, 2015, the duration of the sanctions has been prolonged whilst the Council continues its assessment of progress in implementation.

The measures originally imposed in July 2014 were reinforced in September 2014 and they target certain exchanges with Russia in the financial, energy and defence sectors and in the area of dual-use goods.

These are the economic sanctions that have been put in place:

EU nationals and companies may no longer buy or sell new bonds, equity or similar financial instruments with a maturity exceeding 30 days, issued by:

  • Five major state-owned Russian banks.
  • Three major Russian energy companies.
  • Three major Russian defence companies.
  • Subsidiaries outside the EU of the entities above, and those acting on their behalf or at their direction.

Assistance in relation to the issuing of such financial instruments is also prohibited.

EU nationals and companies may also not provide loans with a maturity exceeding 30 days to the entities described above.

Embargo on the import and export of arms and related material from/to Russia, covering all items on the EU common military list, with some exceptions.

Prohibition on exports of dual use goods and technology for military use in Russia or to Russian military end-users, including all items in the EU list of dual use goods. Export of dual use goods to nine mixed end-users is also banned.

Exports of certain energy-related equipment and technology to Russia are subject to prior authorisation by competent authorities of Member States. Export licenses will be denied if products are destined for oil exploration and production in waters deeper than 150 meters or in the offshore area north of the Arctic Circle, and projects that have the potential to produce oil from resources located in shale formations by way of hydraulic fracturing.

The following services necessary for the abovementioned projects may not be supplied: drilling, well testing, logging and completion services and supply of specialised floating vessels.