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Merkel comments on anti-Russian sanctions and Minsk talks progress

The German chancellor noted that the Europeans were "united in their opinions" on the sanctions matter

BRUSSELS, December 15. /TASS/. After studying the results of work made within the framework of the Normandy format, the European Union countries came to a conclusion that insufficient progress in Ukrainian reconciliation does not allow lifting sanctions against Russia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday.

"We were united in our opinions on the issue," she said, commenting on the results of the first day of the EU summit.

"We have looked into the results of the Normandy Format, the Minsk process. We managed to avoid escalation, but failed to make sufficient progress to lift the sanctions, that’s why they need to be extended."

At the same time, Merkel added that the summit’s participants agree that the sides and the international community should do their best to achieve progress in implementing the Minsk agreements.