Civil defence members and men inspect a site damaged after an airstrike in the besieged rebel-held al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria October 11, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
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Outraged by Russia's intensified airstrikes on rebels in Syria, the European Union is now less likely to ease sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine, diplomats say, and some in the bloc are raising the prospect of more punitive steps against the Kremlin. While the EU says conflicts in Syria and Ukraine need to be kept separate, the latest military offensive by Damascus and its ally Moscow on rebel-held eastern Aleppo further clouds the strained ties between Moscow and the bloc.EU and NATO officials said Monday the Ukraine sanctions on Russia should be kept in place.The bloc's main economic sanctions against Russia over Ukraine are now in place until the end of January.Russia says it will never return Crimea to Ukraine.Diplomats said France was leading discussions on whether to impose new sanctions on Russia specifically over Syria, where Moscow backs President Bashar Assad in the 5-year-old war.
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