EU backs four-way Ukraine talks as it weighs fresh sanctions

European Union foreign ministers have thrown their weight behind fresh diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine as they assess whether to expand the EU sanctions list targeting separatists and Russian nationals.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said Monday that he hoped the peace talks "will help to get a real cease-fire in place, and above all a control over this cease-fire."

He spoke in Brussels as EU foreign ministers met to decide whether to add 19 more individuals, including 5 Russians, to a sanctions list linked to the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko are due to hold talks Wednesday in Minsk, Belarus.