Following an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Monday, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski announced that “the majority of those who were speaking [at the meeting] definitely confirmed that the sanctions should be continued,” the Warsaw-based Polish Press Agency (PAP) reported.
Waszczykowski described Russia as an “uncooperative state” which does not abide by the peace deals signed in 2014 and 2015 in Minsk, Belarus, with the aim of restoring peace to eastern Ukraine, which has been the scene of fierce fighting between Kiev’s army and pro-Moscow forces.
In 2014, Kiev launched a military operation in Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions after local residents refused to recognize the new authorities in the capital following an uprising that ousted the country’s pro-Moscow president at the time.
The anti-Kiev forces then established the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR) in the east.
The two Minsk peace deals, which were brokered between the warring sides by leaders of Germany, France and Russia, have so far failed to contain the violence, with both sides accusing each other of violating the ceasefire.
Ties between Russia and the West quickly deteriorated in 2014 following a referendum held in Crimea, in which majority of people voted to separate from Ukraine and reunite with Russia.
Kiev and its allies accuse Moscow of being behind the unrest in eastern Ukraine, an allegation strongly rejected by the Kremlin.
The EU and the US have imposed numerous sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian conflict, which has claimed over 10,000 lives.
Meanwhile, other issues discussed during the EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels were the implementation of the EU Global Strategy, challenges facing the Horn of Africa region, the future of EU – Africa relations and the EU’s Eastern Partnership.