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Future of anti-Russian sanctions depends on Minsk accords — German foreign minister

April 12, 2015, 14:46 UTC+3 BERLIN
The situation in east Ukraine remains unstable, the German foreign minister said
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German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

BERLIN, April 12. /TASS/. The future of Western sanctions imposed against Russia over its stance on developments in neighboring Ukraine will depend on the implementation of Minsk accords, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag published on Sunday.

"The future of the sanctions is linked to the implementation of the Minsk accords. This still remains in force," he said.

The situation in east Ukraine remains unstable, the German foreign minister said.

"Work should be continued and the readiness of both Kiev and Moscow is necessary for this," the German foreign minister said, adding he would meet with his counterparts from Russia, Ukraine and France (the Normandy format) on Monday to discuss the transition to the next stage of implementing the Minsk accords.

"There can be no military solution to this conflict," the German foreign minister said.

"The Minsk accords give us a specific plan supported by all the sides for the political settlement of the problem," he added.

The level of violence in east Ukraine has decreased noticeably in the past several weeks after the Minsk accords were signed, the German foreign minister said.

"The ceasefire regime is broadly observed and the process of heavy weaponry pullout has advanced considerably," Steinmeier said, adding, however, that the danger of the conflict escalation still remained.

Minsk accords

The 16-hour marathon summit negotiations held in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on February 12 between the Normandy Four leaders - Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel - ended in a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged a ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15.

As a result of the meeting, it was announced that an agreement was reached on the ceasefire in certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the heavy weaponry pullout and measures on a long-term political settlement of the crisis.

The package of measures envisages the implementation of constitutional reform based on Ukraine’s decentralization, and also the adoption of permanent legislation on the special status of certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands of people have fled Ukraine’s embattled east as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, launched in mid-April 2014 to regain control over parts of the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.

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