European Union leaders Thursday extended punishing economic sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine for another six months, an EU spokesman said.
The sanctions, which target whole sectors of the Russian economy including its valuable oil businesses, were extended to mid-2021.
The measures over Russia’s role in the conflict were first imposed after Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in 2014 and have been renewed every six months ever since.
The EU insists the 2015 Minsk accords must be fully implemented before relations can be normalised.
The accords, endorsed by both Moscow and Kiev, aim to end the fighting and find a political solution for Ukraine’s separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Thousands have been killed since pro-Russia militias in eastern Ukraine launched a bid for independence in 2014, kicking off a conflict that deepened Russia’s estrangement from the West.