Merkel says progress in Ukraine too slow, threatens sanctions

BERLIN, June 25 Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:34am EDT

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BERLIN, June 25 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday new sanctions against Russia could be put back on the agenda if progress in stabilising the situation in Ukraine does not speed up.

She praised Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's call for a unilateral ceasefire in the conflict with pro-Russian rebels and said Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to renounce his right to intervene was "psychologically important".

But Merkel told parliament that there were still fatalities among Ukrainian troops despite the ceasefire and said: "Progress is slow ... Diplomatic solutions are always preferable but if nothing else works, sanctions can be put back on the agenda." (Reporting by Stephen Brown and Noah Barkin)

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