On December 2016, the Council prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of Russian economy until 31 July 2017 – sectoral restrictive measures, initially imposed on 31 July 2014 as a response on Russian position in Ukrainian conflict. They are targeting financial, energy and defense industries sectors plus dual-use goods.
Later, on March 2015 the European Council decided to establish a connection on sanctions to complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, aimed at conflict resolution in Ukraine. Unfortunately Minsk agreements were not implemented by the end of 2015 as expected. Subsequently to its decision to couple the sanctions to Minsk agreement implementation the sanctions, imposed on Russia have been prolonged already several times.
The latest assessment of the implementation of the Minsk agreements by the European Council meeting on 15 December, the heads of states and governments agreed to continue the policy of sanctions against Russian Federation. The decision was proceeded by written as it was a unanimous decision without any further changes of the text.
As previously the restrictive measures are concerning the limitation of access to the EU primary and secondary capital markets for five biggest Russian state-owned financial institutions and their majority-owned subsidiaries established outside the EU; three leading energy and defence companies; export and import ban on trade in arms; ban on dual-use goods for military use or military users in Russia; curtail Russian access to a number of sensitive technologies and services enhancing oil exploration and production.
The sectoral sanctions are combined with targeting of individuals, considered by EU as responsible for continuation of the Ukrainian conflict: visa ban and asset freeze in case applicable. At present there is a 152 strong list of individuals and 37 entities until March 15 2017, and the initial restrictive measures in response to ‘illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol” until 23 June 2017.
Source: EU Council, EEAS