EU sanctions imposed on Russia will be extended through the end of 2015 at the earliest, as a part of a move to link them to the "complete implementation" of a ceasefire deal in Ukraine, EU leaders said at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. The EU first implemented sanctions over Russia's alleged military intervention in eastern Ukraine, and EU leaders said they'll remain in place until a ceasefire deal agreed upon last month in Minsk is completed between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government troops, according to European Council President Donald Tusk. The sanctions, which are directed at major companies and political figures, were due to expire in July. A formal decision to extend the sanctions is expected this summer. Violent clashes have gripped eastern Ukraine, killing more than 6,000 people since fighting first erupted last April.