The Council held an in-depth debate on EU relations with Russia.
High Representative Mogherini said: "Starting a strategic debate does not mean and has not meant changing the course of our relations with Russia. We stay the course."
She underlined that relations can only be changed if and when the Minsk commitments are implemented. Ministers agreed the need to reinforce diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve the Ukrainian crisis. Political dialogue with Russia on global crises will be continued. Options for sectorial dialogues with Russia will be explored at technical level in a limited number of areas, such as energy.
"We were united and we still are united," the High Representative added. "There is no back to business as usual in any way." The Foreign Affairs Council will revert to this issue, including the question of strategic communication, before the March European Council.