The European Council announced yesterday that it had decided to extend for six months, until 31 July 2022, the restrictive measures currently targeting specific economic sectors of the Russian Federation.
The Council’s decision follows the latest assessment of the state of implementation of the Minsk agreements – initially scheduled for 31 December 2015 – during the European Council on 16 December 2021.
The sanctions in place, first introduced on 31 July 2014 in response to Russian actions destabilizing the situation in Ukraine, limit access to primary and secondary EU capital markets for certain Russian banks and companies and prohibit forms of financial assistance and brokerage to Russian financial institutions. The sanctions also prohibit the direct or indirect import, export or transfer of any defence-related material and establish a ban on dual-use items for military use or military end-users in Russia. The sanctions further restrict Russia’s access to certain sensitive technologies that can be used in Russia’s energy sector, for example, in oil production and exploration.
During the assessment of the state of implementation of the Minsk agreements which took place during the European Council on 16 December 2021, EU leaders encouraged diplomatic efforts and supported the Norman format to achieve the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. Given that Russia has not fully implemented these agreements, EU leaders have unanimously decided to renew the economic sanctions in place against the country.
In addition to economic sanctions, the EU has put in place different types of measures in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and the deliberate destabilization of Ukraine. These include diplomatic measures, individual restrictive measures (freeze of assets and travel restrictions) and specific restrictions on economic relations with Crimea and Sevastopol.