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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 325
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Angela Merkel Says Russian Sanctions Can't Be Lifted Until Minsk Agreement Fully Implemented
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is signalling that she will not advocate the lifting of sanctions against Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea unless the Minsk agreement is full implemented.

The Minsk deal, signed at the close of August, was an agreement brokered by Russia that was supposed to bring about a ceasefire, prisoner exchanges, and new rounds of discussion about how to permanently end the crisis in Ukraine. Since then, the Russian-backed separatists have continued to launch attacks, the Kremlin has continued to supply the separatists with advanced weapons systems, and the conflict in Ukraine is only semi-frozen instead of resolved.

Reuters reports that sanctions against Russia and Crimean officials for the annexation of the peninsula also could not be reversed, Merkel said, unless Crimea was returned to Ukraine.

"I have little hope on that front," Merkel said. "The other sanctions were introduced in response to the intervention in eastern Ukraine. Fulfilling the entire Minsk agreement is the way to bring about a reversal (of sanctions) here. The entire Minsk agreement must be implemented before we can say these sanctions can be lifted."

The New York Times reports that Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine are trying to set up a meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, but Merkel was also signalling that there is not optimism that such talks would solve the crisis:

"A meeting in Astana won't lead to all points being fulfilled the next day," she said. "What we can do is try to make visible progress and at the same time have a reliable road map for other points. What is difficult is that we already often had road maps that weren't kept to."


Yatsenyuk said the Minsk deal is still viable and the most urgent priority is to seal the Russia-Ukraine border. He called for continued Western unity in pressing Russia on the deal, saying that Moscow is "desperately trying" to split EU countries, "but they're going to fail."

-- James Miller