On 5 July 2018, following the update from French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel to the European Council of 28-29 June 2018 on the status of the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, the Council of the European Union prolonged the economic sanctions against Russia by six months, until 31 January 2019.

These sanctions are part of the restrictive measures imposed by the European Union in response to the deliberate destabilization of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.

The sanctions target specific sectors of the Russian economy, namely the financial, energy and defence sectors, as well as the area of dual-use goods. In particular, they:

  • limit access to EU 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 defence 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; and
  • curtail Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and servicesthat can be used for oil production and exploration.

Recently the Council of the European Union has also extended by one year, until 23 June 2019, the restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation.

These measures include prohibitions on import of goods from Crimea and Sevastopol, investment in Crimea or Sevastopol, tourism services in those territories and exports of certain goods and technologies in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors and related to the prospection, exploration and production of oil, gas and mineral resources. The restrictions apply to EU persons and EU based companies and are limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol.