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Merkel tells Putin: implement Minsk to get EU sanctions lifted

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive for a meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia, May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on all sides in the conflict in Ukraine to work toward the ceasefire envisaged by the Minsk accords, saying implementation of those agreements could lead to the lifting of EU sanctions against Russia.

Speaking in the Russian town of Sochi after discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Merkel said there was no need to replace the Minsk process, which is designed to bring an end to the conflict between Moscow-backed rebels in Ukraine’s east and the Kiev government.

“For me the aim is to reach the point in the implementation of the Minsk accords where we can lift the European Union’s sanctions against Russia,” Merkel said.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Catherine Evans