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 G7 foreign ministers demand Russia to influence militants to comply with Minsk Agreement

Russia can expect lifting of international sanctions against it only when it complies with the terms of the cease-fire with Ukraine, foreign ministers from the Group of Seven said on Wednesday.

The top diplomats, gathering in Germany for their second meeting since the expulsion of Russia from their ranks last year over its annexation of Crimea, said the truce agreed in February in the Belarussian capital of Minsk must be respected, Censor.NET reports citing AFP.

"Sanctions are not an end in themselves; their duration should be clearly linked to Russia's complete implementation of the Minsk agreements and respect for Ukraine's sovereignty," the ministers said in a joint declaration.

Read also: Economic sanctions against Russia to be extended until the end of 2015 - EU Council decision

"We also expect Russia to take effective measures against trans-border support of separatist fighters."

The ministers threw their "full support" behind mediation efforts by Germany, which holds the the rotating G7 presidency, and France.

"We stand united in our conviction that the conflict in Ukraine can only be solved by diplomatic means and in full respect for international law, especially the legal obligation to respect Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence," they said.

"Further and verifiable progress is required in particular as regards respect for the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons."

Read also: Sanctions against Russia will not be lifted until Minsk accords fully implemented - Tusk

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosted four-way talks in Berlin Monday with his counterparts from Russia, Ukraine and France to assess the shaky truce in Eastern Ukraine, which has been marred by deadly clashes in recent days.

They produced a renewed commitment by the parties to the cease-fire, and an expansion of its pledge for a withdrawal of heavy weapons from eastern Ukraine to include lighter artillery and armored vehicles.G7 foreign ministers demand Russian to influence militants to comply with Minsk Agreement

 
 
 
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