Europe

EU officials: EU to extend Russia sanctions for 6 months

  • French President Francois Hollande speaks during a media conference at the end of an EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. European Union leaders met in a separate session Thursday evening without Prime Minister Theresa May as they try to chart the way ahead with an EU of 27 members without Britain. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

    French President Francois Hollande speaks during a media conference at the end of an EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. European Union leaders met in a separate session Thursday evening without Prime Minister Theresa May as they try to chart the way ahead with an EU of 27 members without Britain. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)  (The Associated Press)

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference at the end of an EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. European Union leaders met in a separate session Thursday evening without Prime Minister Theresa May as they try to chart the way ahead with an EU of 27 members without Britain. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference at the end of an EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. European Union leaders met in a separate session Thursday evening without Prime Minister Theresa May as they try to chart the way ahead with an EU of 27 members without Britain. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)  (The Associated Press)

European Union officials say the EU will extend its sanctions against Russia for six more months to keep pressure on Moscow to respect the fragile peace agreement in Ukraine.

Two officials said EU nations backed the deal at Thursday's summit of EU leaders and the formal decision will be adopted over the next few days. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision was not officially made yet.

It means restrictive measures targeting Russia's financial, energy and defense sectors, as well as goods that can be used for both civilian and military purposes, remain in force until at least the middle of next year.

The EU imposed sanctions against Russia in July 2014 over Russia's annexation of Crimea and added to them after Russia backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.