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Progress in resolving Donbass conflict not enough to remove sanctions, says Merkel

According to her, EU countries unanimously extended sanctions against Moscow

BERLIN, December 13. /TASS/. Progress has been achieved in resolving the conflict in Donbass but there is still no reason to remove sanctions on Russia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference following a European Union summit on Friday.

"[French] President Emmanuel Macron and I informed [the summit’s participants] of the Normandy Four meeting’s outcome. We said that some progress had been achieved but it wasn’t enough for us to remove sanctions," Merkel pointed out.

According to her, EU countries unanimously extended sanctions against Moscow.

Normandy Four summit

The Normandy Four summit, which took place in Paris on December 9, involved French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. The four leaders reaffirmed their commitment to implementing a comprehensive ceasefire in Donbass before the end of 2019. They also voiced support for a plan to carry out the disengagement of forces in three more areas in Donbass by the end of March 2020 and conduct an all-for-all prisoner exchange before 2019 ends.

EU sanctions

In 2014, the European Union imposed sanctions on Moscow over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Visa waiver negotiations and talks on a new cooperation agreement were suspended. Some Russian officials were barred from entering EU counties, their assets were frozen. Besides, trade, financial and military restrictions were also introduced. In response, Russia banned the import of a number of food products from the European Union.