Europe

Germany, France back extending sanctions against Russia

The leaders of Germany and France say European Union sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine will need to be extended.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Tuesday that the implementation of last year's Minsk peace accord in eastern Ukraine is "very sluggish." She added "it will be necessary to extend the sanctions against Russia once again."

French President Francois Hollande says he also favors extending the sanctions, which were placed against Russia for backing separatists in eastern Ukraine. Fighting there has killed 9,600 people since April 2014.

The EU's 28 leaders are holding a summit Thursday in Brussels. Economic sanctions against Russia are set to expire Jan. 31.