EU ambassadors agreed Tuesday to extend their bloc's economic sanctions against Russia for another six months, a diplomatic source said on condition of anonymity.
The European Union has imposed restrictive measures on Moscow over its annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and its alleged support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The ambassadors' decision, which is expected to be formalized on Friday, relates to the toughest of sanctions imposed by the bloc on Moscow. They hamper Russian imports into the EU and Russian banks' access to European markets.
The sanctions are currently in place until the end of July. Tuesday's decision paves the way for them to be prolonged until the end of January 2017.