European Union leaders on December 10 gave the green light for a six-month extension of the economic sanctions that were imposed against Russia over its role in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel briefed other EU heads of state and government about the state of play in the Normandy Format talks during an EU summit in Brussels. They recommended a sanctions extension because little progress had been made, according to diplomats familiar with the talks who spoke with RFE/RL.
The so-called Normandy Format is a diplomatic process involving Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France aimed at resolving the conflict in parts of eastern Ukraine between Russia-backed separatist formations and the Kyiv government.
There has not been a formal Normandy Format summit since December 2019, while the one before that was held in October 2016.
The sanctions were first adopted in July 2014 after Russia forcibly annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and started providing military support to the separatists fighting against Kyiv in a conflict that has killed more than 13,200 people.
Since then, the sanctions have been extended every six months.
EU ambassadors will officially prolong the measures -- which mainly target Russia’s financial, energy, and defense sectors -- in the coming week.