The EU has said it will uphold tough sanctions on Russia until a ceasefire agreement between pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine and Kiev is fully implemented.

EU spokeswoman Maja Kojicancic said on Tuesday that member states had agreed there had been "encouraging developments" in "some aspects" of the peace deal signed earlier this month in Minsk, Belarus.

But she said that "relevant parts of the same protocol will need to be properly implemented" before the EU considered amending, suspending or repealing sanctions.

The EU has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia, as it blames it for fuelling the conflict in eastern Ukraine by aiding pro-Russian separatists.

The sanctions target Russia's finance, defence and energy sectors, and have frozen the assets of 140 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and companies.

Russia rejects the claims it is directing and aiding the war in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's rival parties signed a 12-point peace plan in Minsk on September 5, while the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian rebels agreed a separate deal on September 20 to a ceasefire and to created a 30km buffer zone between their forces.

But fighting has continued with the deadliest wave of attacks in a month killing nine soldiers and four civilians on Monday.

Source: Agencies