On 21 December 2015, the Council prolonged EU economic sanctions against Russia until 31 July 2016.
The sanctions were initially introduced for one year on 31 July 2014, in response to Russia's actions in the east of Ukraine.
On 22 June 2015, the Council prolonged the duration of the measures by six months until 31 January 2016. This followed an agreement in the European Council in March 2015, when EU leaders linked the duration of the sanctions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, which was foreseen to take place by 31 December 2015.
However, since the Minsk agreements will not be fully implemented by 31 December 2015, the duration of the sanctions has been prolonged whilst the Council continues its assessment of progress in implementation.
The measures originally imposed in July 2014 were reinforced in September 2014. They target certain exchanges with Russia in the financial, energy and defence sectors and in the area of dual-use goods.