EU ambassadors have agreed to extend their bloc's economic sanctions against Russia for another six months, diplomats said Friday on condition of anonymity, following halting progress on a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.
The prolongation until the end of July is expected to be finalized by Tuesday, at which point it should be published in the European Union's official journal, the diplomats said.
The economic sanctions against Russia were first instituted in July 2014, in reaction to Moscow's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.
The measures, which aim to hamper Russian imports and Russian banks' access to European capital markets, have severely strained relations between Brussels and Moscow.
They are among the most controversial steps taken to influence Moscow's course in Ukraine, having inflicted economic pain both on Russia and the 28-country EU.
But the bloc has linked the sanctions to a ceasefire deal for eastern Ukraine, which was supposed to be implemented by the end of year. Violations persist, however. A prolongation had thus been considered unavoidable.
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