REUTERS

"Prolongation of Russia sanctions is adopted by #EUCO," Spokesman for the President of the European Council Barend Leyts tweeted on December 12. They will be in effect until July 31, 2020.

"EU leaders discuss[ed] sanctions on Russia after [a] 9 December Normandy format meeting. The EU confirms support for Ukraine's sovereignty & territorial integrity," the EU Council said on Twitter on the same day.

"The economic sanctions have been extended for 6 months successively since July 1, 2016," it said on its website.

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In July and September 2014, the EU imposed economic sanctions targeting exchanges with Russia in specific economic sectors.

In March 2015, EU leaders decided to align the existing sanctions regime to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, foreseen for the end of December 2015. Since this did not happen, the Council extended economic sanctions until July 31, 2016.

The extension was decided each time following an assessment of the Minsk agreements implementation. The economic sanctions are currently extended until January 31, 2020.

These restrictive measures include: limit access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for certain Russian banks and companies; impose an export and import ban on trade in arms; establish an export ban for dual-use goods for military use or military end users in Russia; curtail Russian access to certain sensitive technologies and services that can be used for oil production and exploration.