March 19, 2015 / 9:39 PM / 3 years ago

EU ties lifting Russia sanctions to full Ukraine peace accord

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders agreed on Thursday to link lifting economic sanctions on Russia to the full implementation of a Ukraine ceasefire agreement, European Council President Donald Tusk announced.

British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) and French President Francois Hollande arrive for a group photo during a European Union leaders summit in Brussels March 19, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman

EU leaders at a summit meeting in Brussels did not formally agree to extend the sanctions due to expire in July unless renewed. But the link to the Minsk agreement effectively extends sanctions until the end of the year because the accord sets a number of deadlines for the end of 2015.

“The duration of economic sanctions will be clearly linked to the full implementation of the Minsk agreement,” Tusk told a news conference. “We have to maintain our sanctions until the Minsk agreement is fully implemented.”

Reporting by Adrian Croft, Jan Strupczewski; editing by Paul Taylor

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