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BRUSSELS, June 22. /TASS/. The EU Council at the foreign ministers’ level has extended the economic sanctions against Russia for six months until January 31, 2016, a spokeswoman for the council’s external affairs service said on Monday.
Susanne Kiefer said the decision on extending the restrictive measures has been taken and comes in an effort to implement in full the February 12 Minsk agreements on Ukraine.
The latest decision was made without any discussion being held. Kiefer announced it until the foreign ministers of all 28 member-states arrived for the meeting in Luxembourg.
The EU countries reached a compromise in principle on the issue at the session of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) on June 17.
Sanctions against Russia
The West started imposing sanctions on Russia since March 2014 in the wake of the drastic events evolving in Ukraine at that time. First, an early EU summit stalled the talks on a visa-free regime and a new base agreement on Russia-EU cooperation. Further on, the sanctions were grouped into three categories - personal, corporate and sectoral.
By the beginning of September, some 420 Russian individuals and 143 companies had been put on the sanction lists of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland and Norway.
The sectoral sanctions imposed for a term of one year include an embargo on the supply of arms to Russia and the importation of Russian weapons and related materials, a ban on the delivery of dual-purpose products and technologies to Russia, as well as innovative technologies for Russia’s oil extracting industry.
In mid-September, the European Union published new sanctions against Russia in its official journal.
Russia fully banned from August 7, 2014 the imports of meat, fish, cheeses, milk, vegetables and fruits from western countries that had imposed economic sanctions against Russian citizens and companies.
The countries that have slapped sanctions against Russia include the European Union member states, Norway, the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan.
Russia’s envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov earlier told TASS that Russia "does not discuss the issue of lifting the unilateral restrictions". "It is their business. We monitor these decisions, but we are not discussing this topic, although there were some attempts to discuss the conditions of lifting the sanction from the European side," he said.
Chizhov also said that the Russian response actions to protect its market and its producers, including a ban on imports of European agricultural products, are connected to the European restrictions and cannot be canceled before the removal of the restrictive measures imposed by the European Union.