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Diplomats Say EU Set To Extend Sanctions Against Russia


Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at an EU-Ukraine summit in Brussels on November 24

BRUSSELS -- European Union diplomats say EU leaders are highly likely to prolong economic sanctions on Russia through July 31, 2017, when they meet in Brussels for a summit next week.

Several EU diplomats close to talks on the sanctions have told RFE/RL that EU leaders might give a green light for the six-month extension of the sanctions without a discussion when they meet on December 15.

EU ministers or ambassadors would formally adopt the extension a few days later, according to the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive geopolitical matter publicly.

The sanctions are currently set to expire at the end of January.

Speaking at an event on Ukraine in Brussels on December 6, the U.S. charge d'affaires to the EU, Adam Shub, said the United States is confident that "there will be no easing of sanctions until Russia fully complies with Minsk" -- a reference to a February 2015 agreement aimed to end the conflict between Kyiv's forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

"I think that our European partners are on the same wavelength," he said.

Sanctions targeting Russia’s banking and energy sectors were first imposed in the summer of 2014, in response to Russia's seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and support for the separatists.

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