Merkel: Russia sanctions to go only with Ukraine ceasefire

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says sanctions on Russia will not be lifted until a real cease-fire is achieved in Ukraine.

Speaking at a meeting with leaders from the Baltic states in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, Merkel said “restoring peace and territorial integrity of Ukraine remains our goal.”

She said Friday that a lifting of sanctions will not be discussed until an agreement reached in Minsk, Belarus, in 2015 is implemented. Germany and France brokered the accord to end the violence in eastern Ukraine but most of its provisions remain unfulfilled.

Merkel is in Lithuania to discuss issues on the EU agenda ahead of a leaders summit in Salzburg, Austria next week. She is also due to visit German troops deployed in Lithuania as part of a NATO force.

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