On 21 December, the Council of the EU announced that the EU's economic sanctions against Russia would be extended until 31 July 2016.   These measures were originally introduced for a one year period in July 2014 and were extended until 31 January 2016 in June 2015 when the EU confirmed that the duration of the sanctions would be linked to the implementation of the Minsk agreements.  In the most recent announcement, the Council said that, since implementation will not be complete by the end of the 2015, the duration of the sanctions should be prolonged to allow the Council to continue its assessment of progress in the implementation of the agreements. 

The Council Decision amending the validity period of the sanctions was published on 22 December and came into force upon publication.  Specifically, this extends Council Decision 2014/512/CFSP, which in turn forms the basis of Regulation 833/2014, the regulation which imposes the so-called sectoral sanctions (which restrict certain activities in relation to, inter alia, the Russian energy sector and particular entities' access to capital markets).