BRUSSELS -- The European Union's foreign policy chief reiterated the EU's "unwavering" support for Ukraine's territorial integrity as the bloc considered moves to extend economic sanctions on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine.
Federica Mogherini, speaking in Brussels on December 8 after meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman, condemned Russia’s continued militarization of the Crimea region, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
She also assailed Russia for the deterioration of human rights in the region and restated the EU’s "call for the immediate release of all Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in illegally annexed Crimea and in Russia."
The EU, along with the United States, has imposed economic sanctions on Moscow for its actions in Ukraine, where it also backs separatists fighting Kyiv's forces in the eastern part of the country in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people since it began in April 2014.
The EU sanctions, which mainly target the Russian banking and energy sectors, were imposed in the summer of 2014 and have been extended every six months since then.
EU diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, told RFE/RL on the sidelines of the meeting that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will recommend at the December 14 EU summit that the sanctions be extended a further six months through July 2018.
The decision on sanctions will likely be made by EU diplomats just before the Christmas break, officials said.
With reporting by RFE/RL’s Rikard Jozwiak