MOSCOW, December 21 (RAPSI) – The European Council announced on Monday that economic sanctions against Russia have been extended until the end of July 2016.

The decision was agreed on Monday under the written procedure after Permanent Representatives of Member States of the EU have approved it. The ruling will take effect on Tuesday.

In the spring of 2014, the EU, the United States and Canada slapped the first sanctions on Russian companies, banks and politicians, freezing their bank accounts, denying them entry and refusing to buy Russian products. The move was linked to the conflict in Ukraine.

 In June 2015, the EU foreign ministers approved amendments to the EU decision on sectoral restrictions, thereby extending economic sanctions against Russia until January 31, 2016.  

In response, in August 2014, the Russian government introduced a year-long ban on agricultural imports from the EU, the US, Canada and several other countries that imposed sanctions on Russia. Blacklisted food imports included meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables. In late June 2015, Russia extended the embargo until August 5, 2016, and also excluded young oysters and mussels, any cheese and limited non-lactose dairy products