The European Union decided to extend the anti-Russian sanctions for another six months, that is until January 31, 2019.
According to the decision, sanctions imply limiting access to EU primary and secondary capital markets for 5 major Russian majority state-owned financial institutions and their majority-owned subsidiaries established outside of the EU, as well as three major Russian energy and three defence companies. Also, sanctions prohibit these companies from exporting arms and military goods to the countries of the European Union, as well as restricting Russia's access to certain technologies and services that can be used for oil production.
Sanctions were introduced in July 2014 in response to the "destabilizing actions of Russia in Ukraine." In September of the same year they were strengthened.
The decision made at the EU level is based on data from France and Germany on Russia's non-compliance with the Minsk agreements, which provide for a cease-fire in the Donbas. The EU Council decided to extend the sanction unanimously.
A few days earlier, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that the US will not cancel sanctions against Russia for the occupation of the Crimea until the peninsula is returned to Ukraine. She stressed that the US does not recognize the annexation of the Crimea.