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Putin extends Russian counter-sanctions until end of 2019

The government has been tasked with enforcement of respective measures

MOSCOW, July 12. /TASS/. President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on extension of Russian countersanctions until December 31, 2019, according to the document published on the website of legal information on Thursday.

"To extend from January 1 to December 31, 2019 separate special economic measures stipulated by the Russian President’s decree dated August 6, 2014," the document said. The government has been tasked with enforcement of respective measures, and "proposals on changing … the period of validity of separate special economic measures to be made if necessary."

In March 2014, the European Union and a number of countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, Iceland and others, began to impose sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine. On August 2014, Russian President signed a decree "On imposing separate special economic measures ensuring security for the Russian Federation." The government imposed restrictions on imports of certain goods from the US, the European Union, Norway, Australia and Canada based on the document the following day. Later the list of countries was expanded, and the list of goods was revised.

On July 9, the European Union announced the decision to extend anti-Russia sanctions for another six months, which was published in the EU Official Journal.

The European Union’s restrictions on Moscow contain several packages, including economic sanctions, individual restrictions and Crimea-related sanctions, which are regularly prolonged. Sectoral sanctions, initially levied on July 31, 2014, concern financial, energy and defense industries, as well as dual-use goods. Economic sanctions particularly restrict access to the EU’s primary and secondary capital markets for five Russian financial institutions and their subsidiaries founded outside the European Union, in which the state holds a majority stake, as well as for Russia’s three biggest energy companies and three defense companies.

Sanctions also impose an embargo on weapons trade and ban exports of dual-use goods for military purposes to Russia, as well as restrict Russia’s access to certain strategic technologies and services that may be used for oil exploration and production.

There are also two sanction packages, which concern the Ukrainian crisis. One of the packages includes restrictive measures against 150 Russian individuals and 38 entities. This particular package will expire on September 15, 2018, but it also can be extended for six months.

Another sanction package relates to Crimea. It includes a ban on importing Crimean goods, making investments in Crimea, including real estate purchases, financing businesses, providing services, particularly in the tourism industry. European vessels are banned from entering Crimean ports, while European aircraft are prohibited from landing at Crimea’s airports, except for emergency reasons. These measures are extended for 12 months.

On June 4, 2018, Russian President signed the law "On countermeasures against unfriendly actions of the United States and other foreign countries." According to the document, the government is empowered to introduce on the basis of the Russian president’s decision various countermeasures, provided they do not apply to vital goods not manufactured in Russia and other countries. Corresponding decisions may also be made by the President on the basis of proposals from the Security Council.