Keeping anti-Russian sanctions in place is not a goal for the United States, but the sanctions are crucial for maintaining peace and security in Ukraine, US State Secretary John Kerry said on Wednesday.
"Our preference is not to have sanctions [against Russia] but the sanctions will be there in an effort to try to secure the peace that everybody wants in Ukraine," Kerry said Wednesday before a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Antalya, Turkey.
According to him, now it is critical to take actions to fulfill the Minsk agreements.
"This is an enormous moment of opportunity for the conflict there to find a path of certainty and resolution."
During a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the sanctions against Russia would be "rolled back" as soon as the Minsk agreements were fully implemented in eastern Ukraine by both Kiev and Donbass independence supporters.
The United States, the European Union and their allies introduced several rounds of economic sanctions targeting Russia's banking, energy and defense sectors, as well as certain individuals in 2014 over Russia's alleged involvement in Ukrainian internal conflict. The restrictive measures also include asset freezes and travel bans for blacklisted individuals.