European Union ambassadors have agreed to extend economic sanctions against Russia for another six months over its role in the Ukraine conflict.
The agreement on December 18 means sanctions will stay in place until July 31, 2016 against Russia's financial, oil, and military sectors-- as well as against specific individuals linked to the Ukraine conflict.
The recommendation by EU ambassadors faces a final, formal ratification process at noon Central Euuropean time on December 21.
The sanctions were first imposed in July and September 2014 in response to the annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula by the Kremlin and Moscow’s support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Without an extension, the existing sanctions would expire on January 31.