In Russia, July 1, 2016

Russia-EU flags image (Vladimir Sergeev, Sputnik)

Russia-EU flags image (Vladimir Sergeev, Sputnik)

The European Union has formally extended economic sanctions against Russia until January 31, 2017, the EU Council announced in a statement on Friday.

The sanctions limit access to EU capital markets for a number of Russian financial institutions, as well as energy and defense firms. Restrictions on arms trading and certain types of oil production technology will also be extended.

“On 1 July 2016, the Council prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 January 2017,” said the Council statement.

Relations between Moscow and the West deteriorated during the 2014 Ukraine crisis.

The United States, the European Union and their allies accused Russia of involvement in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, claims the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

Washington and Brussels introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russian individuals, as well as the energy, banking and defense sectors. In response, Moscow banned food imports from countries that joined anti-Russian sanctions.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree prolonging the embargo on Western products until the end of 2017.

The EU Council plans to discuss EU-Russia relations and sanctions during a meeting in the fall.


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