BRUSSELS -- Ambassadors from the European Union's member states have officially extended the bloc's economic sanctions against Russia by another six months.
The 28 EU heads of state and government agreed last week during a two-day summit in Brussels that they would extend the measures until January 31.
The Kremlin on June 28 responded by saying Russia reserves the right to take retaliatory steps against the EU.
At the summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron gave an assessment on compliance by Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine to the 2015 Minsk agreements, which are aimed at ending a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people since April 2014.
EU diplomats told RFE/RL that there was broad agreement among member states to stay firm with Moscow on Ukraine, while at the same time being open to dialogue on other foreign policy issues.
The EU sanctions, which mainly target Russia's banking and financial sectors, were first imposed by Brussels in the summer of 2014 in response to Russia's illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and its backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The sanctions package has been renewed every six months since then.