BRUSSELS -- A senior EU official has told RFE/RL that the European Union is set to officially extend economic sanctions against Russia by another six months when EU ambassadors meet on December 21.
The extension would keep sanctions in place against Russia’s financial, oil, and military sectors as well as against specific individuals until July 31, 2016.
A motion to extend the sanctions during a December 14 meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels was blocked last week when Italy called for debate at a higher political level.
It was thought that Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi could raise the issue when EU leaders meet later this week.
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.