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NATO to Urge Russia to Stick to Minsk Agreements at Meeting in Brussels

© AP Photo / Yves HermanA general view of the table for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at the level of defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013
A general view of the table for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at the level of defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 - Sputnik International
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NATO will reiterate its insistence of full implementation of the Minsk agreements when the NATO-Russia Council convenes next week, according to bloc's deputy chief Alexander Vershbow.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — NATO deputy chief Alexander Vershbow said Thursday the military bloc would urge Russia to live up to the commitments under the Minsk peace deal with Ukraine at the upcoming Brussels meeting.

NATO and Russian envoys are due to meet on April 20 in Brussels, which will be their first formal meeting after fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine two years ago and their relations soured.

"NATO will reiterate its insistence of full implementation of the Minsk agreements when the NATO-Russia Council convenes next week," Vershbow said, citing commitments on the ceasefire, the pullout of heavy weapons and removal of foreign armed forces from the conflict zone in Ukraine.

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Speaking at the Kiev Security Forum, the NATO deputy secretary general repeated that the US-led military alliance stood by the Ukrainian government in its fight against militias in the country’s east and vowed to continue pressure on Russia.

"Half-measures will not do. Minsk must be implemented in full…Until Russia implements its obligations under Minsk – and that includes the release of Nadia Savchenko and other prisoners – sanctions and other measures on Russia must be maintained," he said.

NATO suspended cooperation with Moscow in April 2014 in protest against Ukraine’s former republic of Crimea’s reunification with Russia after a referendum.

The Minsk peace deal was worked out in February 2015 by Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany. It was signed by both parties to the Ukraine conflict — Kiev authorities and Donbass militias.

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