On 22 June 2015 the Council of the EU announced the extension of its restrictive measures targeted against Russia. The measures will now remain in force until 31 January 2016.
The measures will now remain in force until 31 January 2016. EU leaders had previously agreed in March 2015 that the duration of the restrictive measures should be linked to the Minsk agreements concerning the de-escalation of hostilities in Eastern Ukraine. The Minsk agreements are due to be fully implemented by 31 December 2015, by which time the Ukrainian Government is to have implemented constitutional reform and decentralisation and is thereafter to regain control of the state border.
When it originally introduced the measures, the Council considered it "appropriate to take restrictive measures in response to Russia's actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine". The sanctions were amended in September 2014 with the intention of increasing pressure on the Russian Government and further amended in December 2014 to clarify points whose correct interpretation was not previously clear.
The restrictive measures were introduced on 31 July 2014 by Council Decision 2014/512/CFSP and Regulation 833/2014 and had been due to expire on the anniversary of their introduction, pursuant to Article 9 of Council Decision 2014/512/CFSP. The Council has now extended the applicability of the original decision by an amendment introduced by Council Decision CFSP 2015/971 of 22 June 2015.
Broadly, the restrictions (among other things) prohibit EU-domiciled companies and EU nationals from:
- Export, sale, supply or transfer of certain dual-use goods and technology;
- Provision of associated services in connection with oil exploration and production projects in Russia;
- Export, sale, supply or transfer of certain technologies for use in the oil industry in Russia;
- Purchase, sale, provision of investment services or assistance in the issuance of or dealing in new loans or credit, transferable securities and money-market instruments dated longer than 30 days and issued by certain Russian state-owned enterprises.