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23:31 12.02.2016(updated 23:35 12.02.2016) Get short URL
A Western diplomatic source said that the European Union is willing to lift anti-Russia sanctions as soon as possible, but needs to see progress on the Ukrainian conflict settlement.MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The European Union is willing to lift anti-Russia sanctions as soon as possible, but needs to see progress on the Ukrainian conflict settlement, a Western diplomatic source told Sputnik on Friday.
"Everybody in Europe wants to lift anti-Russia sanctions, but we can't do it without resolving the Donbass issue. But yes — everyone wants those sanctions lifted as soon as possible, and actions are required," the source said.
He added that the Saturday's meeting of the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference is designed to boost the stalling settlement in the region.
"This meeting is to kickstart the Minsk process, which has stalled," the source pointed out.
Relations between Russia and the European Union deteriorated in 2014, when Brussels joined Washington in accusing Moscow of fuelling the Ukrainian crisis, and imposed several rounds of economic sanctions as a punitive measure. The Russian authorities have refuted the allegations, warning that the Western sanctions are counterproductive.
© AP Photo/ Darko Vojinovic
Serbia Never to Join EU Sanctions Against Russia
In February 2015, the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine elaborated a set of measures in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, aimed at Ukrainian reconciliation. The deal was signed by representatives of the Kiev government and eastern Ukrainian militia. The measures include a ceasefire, the withdrawal of weaponry from the contact line and constitutional changes.
In late January 2016, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said the European Union could discuss the lifting or easing of sanctions imposed on Russia in June if the Minsk deal on Ukrainian reconciliation is implemented. Several European leaders have previously made similar statements.
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