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 US and EU to keep Russian sanctions in 2016, - Bloomberg

The European Union and the U.S. are preparing to keep sanctions against Russia in place in 2016 amid weakening prospects for implementing a peace agreement on Ukraine by the end of this year.

EU and U.S. officials said, Censor.NET reports citing Bloomberg.

The leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia are set to discuss extending the Minsk peace accord at a summit in Paris on Oct. 2, according to a person involved in Kremlin policy. Prolonging the truce means sanctions will stay, according to four German, French and U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue.

Read more: Extended EU sanctions against Russia take effect

Germany expects the Minsk deal won't be fulfilled by the deadline and that the parties will keep working beyond it without a formal extension, an official in Berlin said. This means the EU will have to roll over sanctions, according to the official.

The U.S. remains in close communication with its EU partners and is prepared to maintain sanctions if Russia doesn't fulfill its commitments under the peace deal, a senior Obama administration official in Washington said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said last week in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, that sanctions on Russia will stay in place until the Minsk accord negotiated in February is fully implemented. The U.S. measures, adopted by presidential order, remain effective until they are canceled. The EU's sanctions expire at the end of January and an extension requires the approval of all 28 members.

Despite the accord's recent success in enforcing a fragile cease-fire after a 17-month conflict that's killed almost 8,000 people, its implementation remains deadlocked over disagreements surrounding local elections and autonomy for the rebel-held territories in Ukraine's east. While the timetable for fulfilling the agreement has grown increasingly challenging, all sides are formally still committed to it.

It will take at least until mid-2016 to overcome the differences and hold elections in separatist areas that comply with Ukrainian law, the person involved in Kremlin policy said.

One official from a pro-sanctions EU country predicted a difficult debate, saying some sanctions may have to be dropped as part of a compromise. Other issues unrelated to Ukraine -- Russia's peacemaking efforts in Syria and the fallout from the discussions over refugee policy -- may make unanimity on sanctions elusive, the official said.

Read more: US ready to impose new sanctions against Russia if Minsk agreements are violated - Nuland
 
 
 
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