EU extends economic sanctions against Russia by six months

Flags of the European Union flutter in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on March 10, 2021. (ARMANDO BABANI / AFP)

BRUSSELS – The Council of the European Union on Monday announced the decision to prolong sanctions against Russia by a further six months over delays to implement agreements.

The Council said in a statement that EU leaders unanimously decided to roll over the economic sanctions in place against Russia over its failure to fully implement the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the Donbass conflict.

The Council of Europe said EU leaders unanimously decided to roll over the economic sanctions in place against Russia over its failure to fully implement the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the Donbass conflict

During the European Council meeting in late June, leaders of the EU member states had called on Russia to fully assume its responsibility in ensuring the full implementation of the agreement as the key condition for any substantial change in the EU's stance.

EU's economic sanctions against Russia had been first introduced on July 31, 2014 in response to Russia's incorporation of the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 following a local referendum. But Kiev and Western countries reject the results of the referendum.

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The sanctions were reinforced in September that year and in March 2015, the European Council agreed to link their duration to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The sanctions limit access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for certain Russian banks and companies and prohibit forms of financial assistance and brokering towards Russian financial institutions.

The measures also prohibit the direct or indirect import, export or transfer of all defense-related material and establish a ban for dual-use goods for military use or military-end users in Russia. The sanctions further curtail Russian access to certain sensitive technologies that can be used in the Russian energy sector, for instance in oil production and exploration.

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