Courtesy of Sputnik    February 13, 2016

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko made a request to Lithuanian counterpart Dalia Grybauskaite to contribute to the extension of the EU anti-Russia sanctions, the Ukrainian presidential press service said Saturday.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko called on his Lithuanian counterpart Dalia Grybauskaite to contribute to the extension of the EU anti-Russia sanctions, the Ukrainian presidential press service said Saturday.

“The Head of State informed his Lithuanian colleague on the situation in Donbas and noted the necessity of prolongation of sanctions against Russia for the non-fulfillment of its commitments under the Minsk agreements,” the statement reads.

The press office added that Poroshenko expressed gratitude for Lithuania’s consistent support and personal efforts of its president.

The Minsk accords to deescalate the situation in eastern Ukraine were signed by representatives of the government in Kiev and the Donbas militias in February 2015. Key points of the Minsk deal include a ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, constitutional reforms, including a decentralization of power in the country, and the granting of special status to the Donbas region. Both Kiev and the local militias accuse each other of violating the Minsk deal.

Relations between Russia and the Western states plummeted in 2014, when Brussels joined Washington in accusing Moscow of fueling the Ukrainian crisis and imposed several rounds of sanctions as a punitive measure.

The Russian authorities have refuted the allegations, warning that the Western sanctions are counterproductive. In response to the Western restrictive measures, in August 2014, Russia announced a one-year food embargo on some products originating in states that imposed sanctions against it. The ban has since been extended for another year.

The EU economic sanctions against Russia, prolonged several times since their introduction, are due to expire on July 31, 2016.