German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on the European Union to renew its sanctions against Russia in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and the Kremlin’s support for pro-Russian separatists that are fighting Ukrainian government forces in eastern Ukraine.
Merkel said on February 1 that “sanctions against Russia must stay in place until Russia fully implements the Minsk agreement,” a cease-fire and peace plan aimed at resolving the war in eastern Ukraine.
Merkel made the remarks during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who also urged the West to maintain sanctions against Russia.
Poroshenko said Russia has recently been sending troops and weapons into eastern Ukraine, threatening the fragile peace deal.
Cease-fire agreements aimed at ending the conflict between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists were signed in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, in September 2014 and February 2015.