Western leaders who met on the margins of last week’s Group of 20 summit in Turkey agreed to extend sanctions imposed on Russia for its intervention in Ukraine until July, a senior European diplomat said.
The decision was taken despite growing calls to cooperate more closely with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the fight against Islamic State after the militant group’s Nov. 13 attack in Paris that killed 130 people.
President Barack Obama, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Britain’s David Cameron, Italy’s Matteo Renzi and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who represented President Francois Hollande at the summit, attended the brief meeting near the conclusion of the G20 meeting in Antalya.
The sanctions are due to expire in January, before full implementation of the so-called Minsk peace deal, which aims to resolve the standoff between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Western countries have said that all elements of Minsk need to be fulfilled before they can consider easing the sanctions.
In particular, the diplomat said, the leaders had concluded that it was important to maintain pressure on Russia ahead of planned elections in eastern Ukraine.