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Italy declines to back extension of EU sanctions on Russia

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Italy declines to back extension of EU sanctions on Russia

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Italy has refused to back an expected six-month extension of EU economic sanctions against Russia.

It comes as a surprise to officials in Brussels as EU leaders had struck a tentative agreement at the G20 summit last month.

The 28 EU ambassadors had been set to sign off on the extension, but such a move requires unanimity.

The sanctions were slapped on Moscow over Russian actions in Ukraine.

Italian diplomats said they wanted further discussions to take place at a ministerial level, perhaps at next week’s EU summit.

They say the EU will need to work with Russia on finding a solution to the Syrian conflict.

The foreign ministers of Italy and Russia will meet in Rome on Thursday for talks.