EU agrees to stick to Russia sanctions policy

19th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

EU foreign ministers agreed Monday there would be no change in the bloc's Russia policy, including sanctions, as the union's diplomatic chief warned the Ukraine situation had got "much worse" in recent weeks.

They said they would stick to their course until Russia fully implemented the Ukraine peace accords it had backed in September, despite EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini's suggestion of a review in the way the European Union deals with Russia.

"EU foreign ministers agree we must keep sanctions pressure on Russia until it helps deliver peace in Ukraine," Britain's Philip Hammond said on Twitter said after talks in Brussels.

"EU must stay the course," Hammond added.

The 28-nation EU imposed limited economic sanctions after the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, with more stringent measures following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July.

With a fresh round of fighting erupting in eastern Ukraine, Mogherini said the "latest developments on the ground are not encouraging, rather the contrary."

"The situation on the ground today is much worse than in last weeks," Mogherini told a press conference after the talks.

In a briefing paper before the meeting, Mogherini had asked ministers to look beyond the immediate Ukraine crisis to consider if both sides could make progress on shared concerns such as Syria, Iraq and terrorism.

She also suggested controversially that a distinction might be made between sanctions imposed for Russia's annexation of Crimea in March and those for backing pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine.

© 2015 AFP

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