European Union leaders will decide on Thursday to prolong until the end of January 2020 economic sanctions against Russia over the turmoil in Ukraine and call on Moscow to help bring to justice those guilty of shooting down a passenger plane there in 2014.
The EU introduced sanctions on Russia after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 and went on to support the regions in the east of the country, pursuing to separate from Kyiv. That conflict is still simmering.
The EU’s economic sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine include curbs on Russian energy, defence and financial sectors and are currently in place until the end of July.
The EU’s Russia hawks Poland and Lithuania are among those pushing to extend the bloc’s punitive measures against Moscow over the passport issue. But any new EU sanctions would require unanimity among all the 28 national leaders of the bloc and no new sanctions are expected swiftly as most others – including Italy, Germany and France – are opposed.
The leaders will, however, say on Thursday that the bloc “stands ready to consider further options, including non-recognition of Russian passports” issued in east Ukraine which undermine the peace process.