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NOVO-OGARYOVO, February 17. /TASS/. It is pointless to associate lifting sanctions against Russia with the implementation of the Minsk agreements, because Ukraine does not fulfill its commitments, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday at a press conference after the meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Putin noted that the Russian sanctions were a response to the sanctions that were unilaterally imposed against Russia by the European Union. "It does not depend on us, when the European Union lifts the sanctions. We have heard and we hear today that it depends on the implementation of the Minsk agreements between the parties of the Ukrainian conflict, which was supported in the Normandy format by Russia, France and Germany. However, it seems to me that any objective observer now sees that the ball is on the side of the Ukrainian authorities. First and foremost, they must fulfill the conditions of the Minsk agreements. I would like to remind you that the key thing is a political settlement, creating political conditions, primarily — introducing amendments to the constitution of Ukraine, which is directly recorded in the Minsk agreements. It clearly says that before the end of 2015, Ukraine must make changes to its constitution — as we can see, this was not done," the president said.
Putin noted there are other unsolved problems that hinder the implementation of the Minsk agreements. "It depends not only on Russia, but, first of all, from our partners in Kiev. We hope that they overcome turbulent political processes, and the political forces in Ukraine that really stand for the settlement of this problem can find strength and supporters to bring this process to the end," Putin said.
"It is pointless to associate lifting the EU sanctions against Russia with the implementation of the Minsk agreements now, because, I repeat, the ball is not on the side of Russia. Nevertheless, we are comfortable with the process as we are confident that sooner or later it will happen — normalization of relations between Russia and the EU," Putin condluded.