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EU to extend sanctions against Russia before yearend — source

A European diplomat said the EU will extend economic sectoral sanctions against Russia for another six months

BRUSSELS, December 12. /TASS/. The European Union will extend economic sectoral sanctions against Russia for another six months at the technical level until the end of 2017, a European diplomat told journalists in Brussels on Tuesday.

The leaders of EU member-states "will not take practical decisions regarding sanctions" at the upcoming summit of the European Union on December 14-15, he said, adding that members of the so-called Normandy Format - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron - will traditionally inform the participants of the summit about the progress of the Donbass settlement talks.

"Restrictive measures will be extended at the technical level for six months. The leaders will not take practical decisions regarding sanctions. They will be prolonged by the (EU) Council, we expect it to happen by the end of the month," he said.

"Chancellor of Germany and President of France will inform the leaders about the progress of talks on the situation in Donbass during the working dinner (on Thursday, December 14). In this regard restrictions against Russia will be touched upon," he said. Earlier another source explained that "the issue of sanctions extension would not be on the agenda."

Economic sectoral sanctions imposed by the European Union against the Russia Federation were extended in June until January 31, 2018. They include financial restrictions concerning leading Russian defense and energy companies, as well as big banks with state ownership. They also ban exports of military and energy technologies and high-tech equipment to the country.

Sectoral measures belong to one of three sanctions packages adopted by the EU against Russia. Two more sanctions tracks are: a black list of Russian physical and legal entities valid until March 2018, and a list of targeted sanctions against Crimea valid until June.