Russia's ruble slid further on Thursday, reaching a low as 69.4 against the dollar at 11:27GMT, after the European Union moved a step closer to imposing sanctions on Moscow over its role in the Ukraine conflict.

EU foreign ministers are set to meet on Thursday to discuss a new round of sanctions on Russia, after the recent escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in the conflict which erupted in April 2014, after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea the previous month.

The EU is expected to extend sanctions already imposed until the end of 2015, while adding more individuals and companies to its blacklist.

The ruble has lost around 6% of its value this week, following ratings agency Standard and Poor's decision to downgrade Russia's sovereign credit rating to junk for the first time in a decade.

Meanwhile, oil prices were trading around six-year lows on Thursday, adding to the downward pressure on the ruble.

Brent crude was trading at $48.78 at 11:19GMT while US Crude was trading at $44.41.