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No Automatic Extension of EU Sanctions Over Russia – Hungary, Italy

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi

Italy and Hungary said there could be no automatic extension of EU sanctions against Russia, the Reuters news agency reported Monday.

"We cannot take for granted any decision at this stage," Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said after an EU meeting in Brussels, Reuters reported.

Some sanctions, such as asset freezes and travel bans on Russians and Russian companies, had been extended by the EU last week. But the discussions are still going on regarding sanctions on Russian banking, defense and energy sectors, Reuters reported.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto echoed his Prime Minister Viktor Orban's previous statements. "We believe that the question of sanctions should be decided at the highest level. It cannot be automatic," Szijjarto said, Reuters reported. The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions against Russia in 2014 over its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and its actions in eastern Ukraine. In December 2015, European leaders extended sanctions for another six months.

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