The E.U. has official prolonged its anti-Russian sanctions for six months until July 3, 2017 from December 31, 2016, the E.U. Council said in a statement.
“Having assessed the implementation of the Minsk agreements at the European Council meeting of December 15, the E.U. heads of state and government paved the way to renew the sanctions for a further six months, until July 31, 2017. The Council formalized this decision on December 19, 2016 by written procedure and as it is the rule for all decisions on prolongation of restrictive measures, unanimously”, the statement read. “The economic sanctions prolonged by this decision notably: limit access to E.U. primary and secondary capital markets for 5 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 defense companies; impose an export and import ban on trade in arms; establish an export ban for dual-use goods for military use or military end users in Russia; curtail Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and services that can be used for oil production and exploration”.
In 2014, relations between Russia and the West deteriorated to their worst since the Cold War due to a military conflict in Ukraine. The West introduced sanctions against some Russian individuals and firms and further against the energy and banking sectors. In response, Russia limited food imports from some countries, including the U.S., the E.U., Canada, Australia, and Norway. (Prime/Business World Magazine)