BRUSSELS -- The European Union has officially decided to extend its economic sanctions against Russia to January 31, 2017.
The decision to roll over the measures was made by EU ambassadors already last week, but Italy slowed down the confirmation process and insisted that the final decision be taken after the EU summit in Brussels on June 28-29.
The decision was finally taken by a so-called written procedure in which all the EU member states capitals had to approve the prolongation within a specific time frame that ended on July 1.
The decision will now be published in the EU official journal on July 2.
The sanctions, which hits Russia's energy and banking sector and also target specific Russian politicians, were first adopted by Brussels in June and July 2014 after Russia's forcible annexation of Crimea and its intervention in eastern Ukraine.