WARSAW, April 27. /TASS/. The European Union (EU) will discuss the future of sanctions against Russia in June and make a corresponding decision, considering the latest developments in Ukraine, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday.
"In March, we took an unambiguous decision that the sanctions are linked to the implementation of the Minsk accords," Merkel said at a joint news conference with Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz.
"We’ll deal with the sanctions issue in June and will together make a decision on the sanctions extension," the German chancellor said.
"At this stage, the sanctions should remain. The fulfillment of the Minsk accords will determine whether they will be expanded or remain unchanged," the Polish prime minister said. "Decisions will be taken after a careful analysis of the developments in Ukraine," she added.
Russian officials and companies came under the first batch of Western sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March 2014 after the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
The West announced new, sectoral, restrictions against Russia in late July 2014, in particular, for what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in protests in Ukraine’s southeast.
In response, Russia imposed on August 6, 2014 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.
New large-scale punitive measures against Russia followed in September and December 2014.
Russia has constantly dismissed accusations of "annexing" Crimea, because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum, as well as allegations that Moscow could in any way be involved in hostilities in the southeast of Ukraine.