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Brussels, Belgium (AFP) EU member states agreed Wednesday to extend damaging economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis by another six months to the end of January 2016, officials said.

The agreement by ambassadors from the 28 European Union nations meeting in Brussels will be formalised by foreign ministers from the bloc when they meet next week, the officials said.

“EU foreign ministers will finalise the decision in Luxembourg on Monday,” Poland’s permanent representative to the EU said on Twitter, while several sources also confirmed the agreement.

The following day, the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia are slated to hold talks in Paris, it was announced Wednesday. It is hoped those meetings may create renewed diplomatic momentum towards resolving the violence in east Ukraine, and address tensions between Russian and Western nations over the conflict and sanctions that have arisen from it.

The EU imposed its sanctions targeting Russia’s banks, oil and defence sectors after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in July 2014.
The United States has also imposed economic sanctions on Russia.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Washington “welcomes the decision by the EU” to roll over its sanctions.