German envoy: Fresh sanctions possible unless Moscow promotes fulfillment of Minsk accords

A new round of sanctions is possible unless Moscow actively promotes the fulfillment of the Ukrainian peace accords, said Gernot Erler, the special coordinator of the German government for cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Partnership countries.

A new round of sanctions is possible unless Moscow actively promotes the fulfillment of the Ukrainian peace accords, said Gernot Erler, the special coordinator of the German government for cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Partnership countries.

"This is simple, twelve provisions of the September 5 agreement and nine provisions of the September 19 agreement [the Minsk deal] must be implemented. We are not demanding anything else. They roughly correspond to the seven provisions declared by Vladimir Putin in Ulan Bator and the peace plan of Petro Poroshenko," Erler said in an interview published by the newspaper Kommersant on Monday.

Enough time has passed for starting the fulfillment of the agreements, he pointed out.

"We practically do not see Russia pressuring the people who are in control of Donetsk and Luhansk. The militia in Donetsk and Lugansk is set to hold their own elections on November 2, which is not envisaged by the Contact Group accords," the special coordinated noted.

This means the militia interprets the agreements as a step towards independence, which, alongside Crimea's incorporation, would be a major blow to the territorial integrity of Ukraine, he said.

"Hopefully, Russia will understand the seriousness of the situation. There will be fresh sanctions unless the fulfillment of the agreements is actively promoted," Erler stated.

There will be no new sanctions if Russia actively demonstrates a real wish to implement the agreements it has signed, he emphasized.

"Regretfully, we have not seen Russia's active involvement in their implementation. For instance, at the end of my Moscow negotiations I do not see how the border control will be exercised. Obviously, Russia has doubts on this issue," Erler said.

The European Union aims at implementing the Minsk agreements, he said.

"The time of naked assertions - we stand for this, we stand for that - is gone. It is time to take real steps. In this case I am sure it will be possible to halt and lift the sanctions. We do not want them to happen and we know that we are harming ourselves; I have heard enough businessmen telling me so every day. The sooner we lift the sanctions the better," Erler said.

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