EU-Russia Ties: EU Chief asks Russia to implement Ukraine deal to lift sanctions

EU-Russia Ties: EU Chief asks Russia to implement Ukraine deal to lift sanctions
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SAINT PETERSBURG, June 16, (APP): EU-Russia Ties: EU Chief asks Russia to implement Ukraine deal to lift sanctions

 

European  Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker told Russia on Thursday that  the "only way" the 28-nation bloc will lift its economic sanctions  on Moscow is if the Kremlin fully implements a peace deal for Ukraine.

 

"The next step is clear, full implementation of the agreement --  no more, no less. This is the only way to begin our conversation and  the only way to lift the economic sanctions that have been imposed,"  he said at Russia's main economic forum in Saint Petersburg.

 

Juncker is set to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin  later Thursday in the first such meeting in Russia since the EU  slapped sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict in 2014.

 

The meeting in Russia's second city comes just weeks before  the 28-nation EU is set to vote on extending the sanctions that have  helped push Russia's economy into recession.

 

Putin will also meet UN chief Ban Ki-moon alongside the world  body's envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura, as he seeks to recast Moscow  as a more stable partner for the West and bolster his country's  flagging economy.

 

The EU has tied the lifting of punishing economic sanctions  that have hit Russia's financial sector to the implementation of an  deal brokered by the leaders of France and Germany in February 2015 to  end the pro-Russian uprising in east Ukraine.

 

Despite the frosty relations, Juncker insisted he had come to Russia  to try to improve relations.

 

"If our relationship today is troubled and marked by mistrust,  it is not broken beyond repair. We need to mend it, and I believe we  can," he said in his speech.

 

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