BERLIN (Sputnik) — The United States and its European allies are ready to strengthen sanctions against Russia in case of conflict escalation in Ukraine, the press service of Germany’s government said Tuesday.
The announcement came hours after US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, British Prime Minister David Cameron and European Council President Donald Tusk held a video conference.
US President Barack Obama administration issued the statement following the president’s video conference.
“They [US and EU leaders] also affirmed their determination to act quickly and in unison to impose significant additional costs, if serious violations of the Minsk agreements occur or if Russian-backed separatists seek to gain new territory,” the statement, issued on Tuesday, said.
The six leaders reaffirmed their support for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, according to the release.
“The leaders expressed their hope for the successful and complete implementation of the Minsk agreements and agreed that the easing of current sanctions would be linked to the full implementation of these agreements,” the statement said.
The leaders called on all parties to the conflict to cease all military actions, cooperate with the OSCE monitors and complete the exchange of prisoners.
“They emphasized their support for the OSCE and the need for its monitors to have full and unfettered access to the entire area of conflict, and they discussed ways to strengthen OSCE monitoring activities,” the statement said.
On Tuesday, Obama signed an executive order to continue Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia for one more year.
The European Union, the United States and a number of allied countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions targeting Russia's defense, energy and banking sectors, as well as certain individuals over Moscow's alleged meddling in Kiev's internal affairs.
Russia has denied Western accusations and continued to act as a mediator for Ukrainian reconciliation despite the economic sanctions.