BRUSSELS The European Union will extend by six months its main economic sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine after the bloc's leaders meet in Brussels on Dec. 15, diplomatic sources and officials said on Friday.
The sanctions include restrictions access to international financing, and curbs on defence and energy cooperation with Russia, which annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Kiev in March, 2014, and went on to back a rebellion in east Ukraine.
The conflict in Ukraine's industrial east is still simmering and has claimed nearly 10,000 lives. Efforts at implementing a peace agreement, brokered by Germany and France, have stalled for nearly two years.
The sources said Paris and Berlin will briefly inform other EU leaders about the situation when they meet next week for their last joint summit in Brussels of the year.
There is no doubt that the punitive measures will be prolonged beyond their current expiry date of end-January, they said.
The formal procedure to do that should conclude around Dec. 20, the sources added.
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Alastair Macdonald, Robin Emmott; editing by John Stonestreet)