Before discussing the issue of easing the sanctions imposed on Russia, it is necessary to make at least a couple of “important steps" in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference in Berlin on Monday, March 12.
During the press conference, a DW correspondent asked Merkel whether Berlin would agree to a partial lifting of the sanctions if an agreement was reached on a UN “Blue Helmets” mission for the Donbas, and if the mission began to fulfill its tasks.
The German Chancellor referred to the mission of the "Blue Helmets", which, she stressed, in principle supports both sides - both Ukraine and Russia - as among the "qualitatively important steps". A mandate for such a mission, Merkel said, has been under negotiation within the UN Security Council for several months, but the desired result has not yet been achieved.
Angela Merkel also recalled the constant violations of the ceasefire in the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine. "Since the conclusion of the Minsk agreements, I am waiting for that day," she said, "when the ceasefire will be firmly maintained for at least ten days, which was the first point of these agreements."
The German Chancellor hopes that after the presidential elections scheduled for March 18, Russia will be able to break the impasse and jump-start qualitative shifts in the Minsk process.
The position on EU sanctions imposed against Russia for the annexation of the Crimea and the country’s support of separatists in Eastern Ukraine is formulated in such a way in the coalition agreement signed by the parties of Angela Merkel’s fourth government that the document allows, in principle, the partial cancellation of sanctions without waiting for comprehensive implementation of the Minsk agreements.