The European Union has extended economic sanctions against Russian for a further six months, an EU official said. The decision to extend the sanctions against Russia was announced by the EU Council's press officer for foreign affairs, Susanne Kiefer. The sanctions are being maintained until January 31, 2016 to ensure the Minsk agreement is implemented, she wrote in her Twitter account. The European Union will review the sanctions regime against Russia in six or seven months, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told reporters in Luxembourg. Dialogue with Russia, especially on Libya and Syria, is “crucially important” for the EU, Gentiloni added. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered his chief of staff to ask President Putin for an extension of Russian counter-sanctions following the EU decision. The premier has also ordered the preparation of a decree listing all categories of products and types of transactions covered by the restrictive measures. It wasn’t Russia that began the restrictive measures in the first place, but it would answer reciprocally, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. The policy of sanctions harms not only business activity in Russia, but European taxpayers as well, he added. Agreement on the extension of sanctions was reached at a meeting of the EU Permanent Representatives Committee on June 17. In March, the EU Summit adopted a political declaration of intent to extend economic sanctions against Russia for another six months. In the document, the lifting of sanctions was linked to the full implementation of the conditions of the Minsk agreement, for the period up until the end of the year.