MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. After the successful implementation of the Minsk Agreements, some sanctions will be lifted from Russia, US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft said on Friday.
"Sometimes I think there is a misconception about sanctions. Sanctions limit certain things, but our business...it's going on still. And what's limited the business? Most of all it's not the sanctions, but the decline of Russian economy. That’s it," Tefft said.
"We are very hopeful that negotiations on the Minsk Agreements will be successful, we will be able to implement the Minsk Agreements. (US) President (Barack) Obama has said we will lift some sanctions when that happens," he added.
The Minsk accords were signed on 12 February 2015, after negotiations in the so-called "Normandy format" in the Belarusian capital Minsk, bringing together Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko. The package of measures envisages ceasefire, weaponry withdrawal, prisoner exchange, local election in Donbass, constitutional reform in Ukraine and establishing working sub-groups on security, political, economy and humanitarian components of the Minsk accords.
Western sanctions, Russian response
The West, inspired by the United States, subjected Russian officials and companies to the first batch of sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March 2014 after a coup in Ukraine in February that year. New, sectoral, penalties against Russia were announced in late July 2014 over Moscow’s position on Ukrainian events, in particular, what the West claimed was Russia’s alleged involvement in hostilities in Ukraine’s embattled south-east.
Russia responded with imposing on August 6, 2014 a ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway. The Russian authorities have repeatedly stressed that Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum and that Moscow is not involved in hostilities in the south-east of Ukraine.