German Chancellor Angela Merkel has ruled out lifting EU sanctions against Russia before full cease-fire is implemented in eastern Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
"We still don't have a sustainable cease-fire, which is naturally a prerequisite for the implementation of different points in the Minsk agreement," Merkel is reported as saying.
The Minsk agreement was negotiated in the Belarus capital in September 2014 and February 2015 by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France. The agreement includes provisions to deliver a full cease-fire, return control of borders to Ukraine, withdraw heavy weaponry and to hold free elections in the region.
The first package of sanctions against Russia was introduced by the EU following the Kremlin's annexation of Crimea in March 2014. Last December, the EU prolonged sanctions until July 31 2015.