Russia sanctions should be phased out if Ukraine ceasefire holds: Germany's Gabriel – media
European sanctions imposed on Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis should be phased out gradually if an internationally agreed ceasefire deal was implemented, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday, according to Reuters.
"The official agreement is: Only if there is 100 percent peace, then we'll lift 100 percent of the sanctions," Gabriel said during a panel discussion organized by German business daily Handelsblatt in Berlin, as reported by Reuters.
Gabriel said, from his point of view, this was a "totally unrealistic" position.
"We introduced the sanctions gradually and we'll lift them gradually – this is actually a commonly known fact," Gabriel said.
Read alsoPoroshenko welcomes extension of sanctions against RussiaHe said that if there was a lasting ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, then the United States probably would also be willing to take similar steps.
Gabriel is a senior member of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition and historic advocates of dialogue with Russia. Germany is heading toward a Sept. 24 federal election.
Merkel has insisted that European sanctions against Russia could only be lifted if the Minsk peace deal was fully implemented – not only the ceasefire agreement which is one part of the broader Minsk peace plan.