European Union leaders are unlikely to tighten sanctions on Russia when they meet next week but will haggle over whether they need to act now to prolong economic sanctions on Russia expiring in July, diplomats said on Thursday.

With an uneasy ceasefire in place in eastern Ukraine, the 28 EU nations see no pressing case to either impose new sanctions on Russia, which they accuse of supporting the Ukrainian separatists, or to relax them.

The EU is instead focusing on how it can help ensure the Minsk agreement is fully implemented.

The Ukraine debate at an EU summit on Thursday and Friday will revolve around whether the EU should signal its resolve by acting now to extend economic sanctions on Russia imposed last July or wait a few months to see how the ceasefire develops.

Leaders are likely to say they are ready to impose more measures on Russia if necessary but several EU governments have said stricter measures would only be taken if the separatists seriously violate the Minsk agreement such as by attacking the port city of Mariupol.

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