European Union leaders have agreed to extend the bloc’s economic sanctions penalizing Russia for its aggression in Ukraine.
The green light came during a dinner at an EU summit in Brussels early on June 29, and it will now be up to EU ambassadors to rubber stamp the decision in the weeks to come.
Both French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the leaders to agree to roll over the sanctions after giving an update on the state of implementation of the Minsk peace accords.
Despite many efforts at establishing a lasting cease-fire in Ukraine, the pact reached in the Belarusian capital in 2015 outlining a path to peace has never been fully carried out by either side.
The sanctions, which mainly hit Russia’s banking and energy sectors, were first imposed in the summer of 2014 after Russia illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and began fueling the conflict in eastern Ukraine by backing separatists fighting government forces there.