France: Russia sanctions must stop if Ukraine peace talks progress
Iran Press TV
Mon Jan 5, 2015 5:13PM
French President Francois Hollande has called for sanctions against Russia to be stopped if there is progress in ending the crisis across eastern Ukraine.
"I think the sanctions must stop now. They must be lifted if there is progress. If there is no progress, the sanctions will remain," Hollande said during a two-hour interview with the France Inter radio station on Monday.
The French president added that he was expecting fresh progress during upcoming talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana, where the presidents of Russia and Ukraine are to meet.
Europe should keep lines of communication open with the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin, while "he must know where to stop, and it has been costly for him," the French president stated.
Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also attend the meeting in Astana on January 15, where they will work to bring peace to eastern Ukraine.
France had earlier said it would hand over two warships ordered by Russia only if Moscow effectively contributed to the process of restoring peace and stability to eastern Ukraine.
The West accuses Moscow of supporting pro-Russia forces in east Ukraine, saying the Russian 'intervention' poses a security threat to Ukraine and all other neighboring states. Russia has strongly denied the allegation.
The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia protesters and the Ukrainian army since Kiev's military operation started in mid-April in a bid to crush the protests.
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