EU foreign ministers plan to keep sanctions in place against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
The move comes amid confusion over how the new US administration will handle relations with Moscow.
“The deescalation of the violence in the East, also our continued policy of the annexation of Crimea and also our continued support of the full implementation of the Minsk agreement, the Normandy format: We want to invest in social and economic development that can benefit all the Ukrainians”
Last week aid agencies warned of a looming humanitarian crisis after heavy shelling between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia separatists cut off power and water supplies to tens of thousands on both sides of the front line.
Britain backs keeping sanctions as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told reporters on arrival that “there is no case for relaxation of the sanctions (and) every case for keeping up the pressure on Russia.”
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an international monitoring body, says this is the worst fighting seen in eastern Ukraine since 2014-2015.
Over 40 people were killed in government- and separatist-held territory in last week’s escalation, adding to the close to 10,000 killed since the conflict erupted in April 2014.