LONDON, Sept. 4, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Demonstrators gather outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, on Sept. 4, 2019. British lawmakers on Wednesday rejected a motion tabled by Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for a general election on Oc. Image Source: IANS News

Rome, Dec 6 : Italy takes its lead from the European Union but wants the bloc to undertake "profound reflection" on the effects on companies of the sanctions it imposed on Russia in March 2014 after the annexation of Crimea.

"We move in Europe's direction but want to urge the EU to reflect profoundly both on the effects its sanctions are having on businesses but also on the key steps forward taken under the Minsk accords," Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.

He was referring to a framework ceasefire deal agreed in February 2015 between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France to end fighting in eastern Ukraine between Kiev's forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Di Maio, speaking to reporters after talks in Rome with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and ahead of a summit on Monday in Paris on the long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The current EU sanctions against Russia are due to expire on January 31. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said the sanctions must be extended and will remain linked to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, it was reported this week.

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