08:41 GMT08 March 2021
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    Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department of European cooperation has cautioned against too much optimism on the European Union dropping sanctions against Moscow by summer.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Andrei Kelin, in an interview with RIA Novosti, pointed out that peace progress in eastern Ukraine stalled because Kiev had failed to keep up with the Minsk peace deal schedule to amend the national constitution – including on an amnesty and a special status for breakaway regions. Now the European Union is trapped between its obligation to continue with the sanctions because the Minsk implementation has not been fulfilled and the fact that Kiev was to blame for this, Kelin explained.

    "The situation looks absurd: Kiev does not want to deliver, while Russia remains under sanctions," the diplomat said.

    "Europeans keep telling us at every round of consultations that they have trapped themselves… but it is up to them, not to us, to find a way out because we did not drive ourselves into that corner. I wouldn’t be too optimistic about things getting better by summer," he continued.

    Last December, the European Council extended sanctions against the Russian energy, banking and defense sectors for another six month past the deadline of January 31, 2016, citing lack of progress in implementing the Minsk accord on Ukrainian settlement.


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