BRUSSELS — European Union ambassadors have agreed to a six-month extension of sanctions against Russia in response to its occupation and illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and Moscow’s support for pro-Russia separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine.
The decision by diplomats at a meeting in Luxembourg on June 21 still requires approval by EU leaders at a summit in Brussels next week.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pushed for prolonging the current sanctions, which are due to expire at the end of July, despite growing calls for a more conciliatory approach from some EU members.
Reports suggest Merkel convinced countries like Slovakia, Hungary, and Italy to set aside their objections and keep sanctions in place until the end of January.
The sanctions, which have targeted Russia’s finance and energy sectors, were first imposed in June and July 2014 and have been extended every six months since then.
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