: EUobserver: EU likely to extend Russia sanctions over Ukraine conflict before summit

13:02 Jun. 8, 2016

EUobserver: EU likely to extend Russia sanctions over Ukraine conflict before summit

Pro-Russian rebels carry boxes of munitions at their position near to the airport in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine (AP Photo)

The war in eastern Ukraine has lasted two years and cost more than 10,000 lives

The EU is preparing to extend its economic sanctions on Russia before the June summit, as Russian diplomats target a winter deadline instead.

The preferred option of EU Council chief Donald Tusk is for EU states' ambassadors to conclude the Russia decision so that leaders can focus on the aftermath of the UK referendum.

Read also U.S. ready to extend sanctions against Russia over Ukraine - Nuland

A few Russia-friendly EU countries have told the Dutch EU presidency they wanted a debate on Russia relations, however.

The compromise could be to do the sanctions first but for leaders to still hold talks on Russia at the summit on 28 and 29 June.

"Our consultations [among member states], the G7 summit all point in the same direction - full roll-over for six months by Coreper [the EU ambassadors' group] before the summit", one EU source told EUobserver.

Read also: Resistance to sanctions against Russia increased in E.U. - Steinmeier

"There could be a discussion on Russia at the summit, but not on sanctions", the source said.

EU leaders imposed the measures, which include curbs on credit to Russian banks and energy firms, after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014. They expire on 31 July unless they are renewed by consensus. Full story 

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