The EU imposed its latest sanctions against Moscow earlier this month
Brussels - AFP
The European Union decided Tuesday to keep a tough package of sanctions against Russia in place, saying that the peace plan in Ukraine was not yet fully implemented.
The bloc imposed its latest sanctions against Moscow earlier this month, but EU president Herman Van Rompuy had said they could be dropped depending on the results of the review, which had a deadline of September 30.
EU spokeswoman Maja Kojicancic said Tuesday that diplomats from member states agreed there had been "encouraging developments" in "some aspects" of the peace deal agreed between Kiev and pro-Russian rebels earlier this month in Minsk, Belarus.
But she said that "relevant parts of the same protocol will need to be properly implemented".
She added: "If the situation on the ground so warrants, the Commission and the EEAS (EU diplomatic service) would be invited to put forward to the Council proposals to amend, suspend or repeal the set of sanctions in force, in all or in part."
Van Rompuy had made the same promise on September 11, after the EU finally agreed on the sanctions following a week of torturous negotiations in which some member states wanted a softer approach towards Russia.
Ukraine's rival parties signed a 12-point peace plan in Minsk on September 5, while the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian rebels inked a separate deal on September 20 to cease fire and to separate themselves with a 30-kilometre (18-mile) buffer zone.
But fighting has continued with the deadliest wave of attacks in a month, with nine soldiers and four civilians killed in 24 hours, officials said Monday.