BERLIN, April 20. /TASS/. The future of European Union sanctions against Russia depends on further steps taken by Moscow and full implementation of Ukraine ceasefire agreements signed in Minsk, Belarus, in February, a German Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.
"It’s important to make a distinction. EU sanctions against individuals and organisations in Russia and Crimea were imposed as a direct response to Russia’s actions on the peninsula," spokesman Martin Schaefer said.
Germany's government considered Crimea’s accession to Russia in mid-March last year as "an act that contradicts international law and makes it impossible to return to the daily agenda", he said.
"The second complex of restrictive measures, adopted last May, was connected with events in Ukraine’s east," Schaefer said.
"The situation with sanctions should depend on Russia’s actions and implementation of the Minsk agreements," the spokesman told a government news conference in Berlin.
"It has been clearly determined that the duration of sanctions is linked to complete implementation of the Minsk agreements," he said.
On February 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held marathon talks in Minsk, seeking to reach a political settlement over east Ukraine's future.
Belarus also gathered former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Kiev envoy for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk - both representing the Ukrainian side - alongside heads of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics Aleksandr Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky.
OSCE special envoy for Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini and Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov joined them as mediators.
The meetings yielded a package of measures to implement the Minsk agreements, including a ceasefire in certain areas of east Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions starting from February 15.
They also called for withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the front line and measures to generate a lasting settlement to the conflict.