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EU envoys agree extension of Russia sanctions until mid-2016

European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union envoys agreed on Friday a six-month rollover of the bloc’s economic sanctions on Russia, diplomats said, extending the measures on energy, banking and defence sectors until the end of July 2016.

The decision will become final at midday (1100 GMT) on Monday unless any member state changes its position and raises an objection in writing.

The decision came after an EU summit in Brussels where Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi wanted to discuss the sanctions, imposed on Moscow last year over the Ukraine conflict, before extending them.

More than 9,000 people were killed in fighting between Russia-backed separatist rebels and Kiev troops in east Ukraine since April 2014, and the EU blames Moscow for driving the revolt. Moscow denies the charge.

It followed the overthrow of a Moscow-allied president in Kiev and Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in what grew to be the biggest spat between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

EU powerbrokers Germany and France negotiated a peace deal between Moscow and Kiev but many points have still not been implemented and the original deadline for the peace accord was extended beyond the end of 2015.

The EU has tied its sanctions to the implementation of the peace deal.

Some diplomats in Brussels said this might be the last time economic sanctions get rolled over in their entirety as France and other members have sought to reengage with Moscow on countering terrorism and seeking an end to the war in Syria.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald and Gabriela Baczynska, editing by Elizabeth Piper