"Our stance is what it's been and will remain in - certainly throughout this administration, which is with regard to sanctions on Crimea, those remain in place until Russia removes its forces from Crimea and gives that peninsula back to Ukraine," Toner explained.
According to him, the Department of State has not changed its attitude to the actions of the Russian Federation in the east of Ukraine.
"With regard to other sanctions with respect to Ukraine and its actions in eastern Ukraine, those sanctions remain in place until the Minsk agreement is fully implemented," he stressed.
He added a progress was observed in the Minsk process.
"We continue to make progress and work in that regard, but that's the clearest path to remove sanctions for Russia," Toner noted.
As previously reported, in 2014, the European Union, the United States and several other countries imposed sanctions against Russia in connection with the occupation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine. These restrictive measures were repeatedly extended and expanded. In particular, the talks on visa waiver and a new basic agreement on cooperation were suspended; several Russia's officials were barred from traveling to the EU with their assets being attached. Trade, financial, and military restrictions were introduced.
The sanctions list included a total of 151 individuals and 37 entities. The sectoral sanctions were imposed against 20 Russian financial, oil-producing and defense companies.
The Russian Federation introduced a package of retaliation restrictions against the EU, the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Norway in August 2014. The so-called counter-sanctions introduced a one-year ban on import of fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat products to Russia from these countries.