15:53 GMT19 January 2021
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    Western Sanctions Against Russia (737)
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    Finnish foreign minister said sanctions against Russia could be eased if Minsk agreement were observed.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A gradual easing of sanctions on Russia is possible if the new Minsk agreement on a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is implemented, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said.

    The leaders of Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia brokered a new deal on Ukraine reconciliation Thursday after a 16-hour summit in Minsk. The 13-point agreement includes a ceasefire between Kiev and pro-independence forces from Saturday night, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and a prisoner exchange.

    "At the moment, of course, extending of sanctions is not discussed. If, in the best case, this [realization of Minsk agreements] actually occurs step by step, then we are ready to get rid of sanctions," Tuomioja told Finnish broadcaster Yle on Thursday.

    Poll

    Do you think the Minsk summit agreements will hold?
    • Yes. It is an important step toward reconciliation in Ukraine, and I believe all parties will carry out their commitments.
      9.1% (165)
    • No. It is easy to talk the talk, but I don’t think the warring sides will actually walk the walk.
      30.4% (550)
    • There are still too many obstacles for the implementation of the set measures. Political and military instability in Ukraine will last long after 15 February.
      60.5% (1097)
    Voted: 2
    According to Tuomioja, implementing the political process, such as defining the status of eastern Ukraine and returning the control of the Ukrainian-Russian border to Kiev, needs time.

    On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that a new round of sanctions the European Union adopted against 19 individuals, including five Russian citizens and nine entities, would come into force on February 16.

    The European Union, the United States and other Western countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. The restrictions target the country's defense, energy and finance sectors, as well as several individuals.

    Last month, EU foreign ministers decided to keep existing sanctions in force until September, but did not impose any new measures.

    Topic:
    Western Sanctions Against Russia (737)

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    EU Must Lift Anti-Russia Sanctions if Minsk Measures Implemented - Experts
    Tags:
    ceasefire, Minsk agreement, Erkki Tuomioja, Finland, Ukraine, Russia
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