G7 announces conditions for lifting sanctions against Russia over Ukraine
Western sanctions against Russia may be lifted only if Moscow fulfills the ceasefire agreements signed in Minsk on February and respects Ukraine's sovereignty.
"The G7 underlines the close linkage between full implementation of the Minsk Agreements and international sanctions," the statement reads.
"Sanctions are not an end in themselves; their duration should be clearly linked to Russia's complete implementation of the Minsk agreements and respect for Ukraine's sovereignty," the G7 foreign ministers said.
The ministers welcomed Ukraine and Russia taking the first steps towards implementing the ceasefire but said there was a "need for substantial and rapid progress on outstanding elements".
They called on all parties to fulfill the agreement and urged "further and verifiable progress" towards respecting a ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons. Russia should make use of its "considerable influence" on the separatists, the G7 foreign ministers said.