The Council of the European Union has announced today, on 21 December 2015, that the EU is formally extending their economic sanctions against Russia until 31 July 2016. The EU has previously linked the duration of their sanctions to the complete implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which was expected to take place by 31 December 2015. According to the Council's press release, the extension of the current sanctions is to enable the Council to continue their assessment of the progress of the Minsk Agreements.