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EU Summit To Discuss Six-Month Extension Of Sanctions On Russia

  • RFE/RL

President of the European Council Donald Tusk (file photo)

President of the European Council Donald Tusk (file photo)

Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, says EU leaders on December 18 will discuss a proposal to extend European Union sanctions against Russia for another six months.

Tusk on December 15 confirmed that the issue is on the agenda during the second day of a two-day summit of EU heads of state and government in Brussels.

On December 14, a senior EU official told RFE/RL that the union was set to officially extend economic sanctions against Russia by another six months when EU ambassadors meet in Brussels on December 21.

The extension would keep sanctions in place until July 31, 2016 against Russia's financial, oil, and military sectors as well as against specific individuals.

A motion to extend the sanctions during a December 14 meeting of EU foreign minister in Brussels was blocked last week when Italy called for debate at a higher political level.

The sanctions were first imposed in July and September 2014 in response to the illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula by the Kremlin and Moscow's support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Without an extension, the EU’s existing sanctions are due to expire on January 31, 2016.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL’s Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels, additional reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP