The EU will maintain sanctions against Russia because of the ongoing violence in Ukraine, it decided today.
At a meeting of EU ambassadors on Tuesday, the bloc ruled that the peace agreement between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists "will need to be properly implemented" before sanctions are dropped.
However an EU spokeswoman noted there had been "encouraging developments" since the September 5 ceasefire, according to the BBC.
Sanctions taking aim at bank financing, technology, defence equipment and oil as well as travel restrictions on prominent Russian officials have been deployed for some weeks now.Russia has consistently denied any involvement in arming or training Ukrainian separatists.
Both the EU and the US remain unconvinced that Russia is not providing the rebels with military support. The US has as of yet refused to supply Kiev with weaponry.
More than 3,000 people have died in the conflict since April.
After a false start the ceasefire between the government and the rebels was agreed earlier this month, with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko saying the "most dangerous" part of the crisis was over.
Earlier today, the BBC reported artillery was shelling the Donetsk airport, where Ukrainian troops are stationed.
Last week, Poroshenko outlined plans for his country to apply for EU membership in six years time. Poroshenko said Ukraine would undertake a series of economic and social reforms to meet the standards of EU membership.
According to a poll for the German Marshall Fund, 52 per cent of Europeans favour Ukrainian membership of the EU, with two-thirds supporting tougher sanctions against Russia.