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Italy's Renzi Says Russian Sanctions To Be Reviewed Next Year

Italy says that European and other Western countries are likely to review their economic sanctions against Russia next year.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on December 16 that he would not prevent a further six-month extension of EU sanctions against Russia, due to expire on January 31.

The extension is expected to be approved by EU member countries later this week after opening discussion on them on December 17.

But Renzi added that he believes the sanctions will be reviewed or revised "in the coming months."

Italy has major trade ties with Russia and its economy has been severely damaged by the sanctions imposed on Moscow because of its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and its support for separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Last week, Italy unexpectedly blocked an automatic rollover of the EU sanctions, saying the issue required further discussion.

Italy is reportedly upset by the demise of Russia's South Stream pipeline project that would have brought Russian natural gas to Austria and Italy for further distribution to Europe.

Based on reporting Reuters and AP