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Rinkēvičs: It all depends on Minsk Agreement

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs on Monday gave a clear signal that improved relations between Russia and the European Union cannot happen without observance of the Minsk peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.

Addressing a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels under the auspices of Latvia's six-month EU Presidency, Rinkēvičs - who last week visited both Kyiv and Moscow - said opportunities for normalization of EU-Russia relations depend on Russia, and what it does next in Ukraine.

"If the Minsk Agreement is not fulfilled, no grounds exist for reviewing sanctions against Russia," a statement on the meeting issued by the Latvian Foreign Ministry said.

"The main elements of the Minsk Agreement include Russia's commitments to stop supplying arms to separatists, to withdraw troops from the territory of Ukraine, and to facilitate restoration of Ukrainian control over its border utilising OCSE monitoring." 

Rinkēvičs "also drew attention to propaganda spread by Russia," the ministry said, adding that "Latvia, during its Presidency of the Council of the EU, will implement concrete measures in the field of strategic communication among the Council configurations," without going into any detail about what those "concrete measures" might be.

His firm belief that the Minsk Agreements are still the only basis upon which progress can be made were put on the record on January 15 when he tweeted:
 

 

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