Germany says Russia sanctions could be lifted if progress made on Ukraine

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany would back the gradual lifting of European Union sanctions against Russia if there is progress in implementing the Minsk peace agreement to end the conflict in east Ukraine, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

“Sanctions are no end in themselves. An all or nothing approach doesn’t bring us closer to our goal,” Martin Jaeger said during a regular government news conference.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday at the Group of Seven meeting in Japan that it was too early to talk about lifting the sanctions on Russia.

Reporting by Thorsten Severin; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Caroline Copley