US president Barack Obama and EU leaders agreed on Friday to keep in place economic sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, dispelling suggestions they might be eased because of president-elect Donald Trump’s expressed sympathies for Moscow.

The move by six government heads at an informal summit in Berlin hosted by chancellor Angela Merkel highlighted their commitment to close transatlantic cooperation amid concerns that Mr Trump’s election might bring divisions between the US and the EU, reports Stefan Wagstyl in Berlin.

Mr Obama, making a farewell visit, urged the EU leaders to work on common challenges with the incoming Trump administration “on the basis of the core values that define the United States and Europe as open democracies,” said the White House.

French president Francois Hollande and prime ministers Theresa May of the UK, Matteo Renzi of Italy and Mariano Rajoy of Spain joined Mr Obama and Ms Merkel at the gathering which also discussed other international challenges including Syria.

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