Censor.NET reports citing Interfax-Ukraine referring to Holos Ameryky.
Fried believes that Federica Mogherini, EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, meant it when she said that the EU would extend the sanctions. He added he was unaware of EU's plans but knew for sure that the EU had always extended the sanctions before.
According to the official, the Washington's stance on the illegality of Crimea's annexation and the ongoing aggression in Ukraine remains firm. However, Fried noted that the sanctions had been introduced in order to restore the Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity rather than punish Moscow. Despite the fact that Crimea is still under Russia's occupation and the Russian military continue to operate in the Donbas, Fried deems the sanctions to be efficient.
The sanctions might have worked as a deterrent and set an additional price, he said, adding that the Minsk process would hardly be possible without them.
According to Fried, the U.S. is negotiating with the European partners on a possible stiffening of sanctions against Russia.
Although the West does not expect the Kremlin to launch a large-scale military offensive in Ukraine, Russia nevertheless can do it. Should this happen, the U.S. and the EU are ready to consider additional restrictions, the official remarked. He also added that the cease-fire, being the cornerstone of the Minsk deal, is constantly violated by militants backed and bred by Russia.
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