BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union may impose further sanctions if a ceasefire deal sealed in Minsk between Ukraine and Russian-backed rebels is not fully implemented, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after an EU summit on Thursday.
Fresh from brokering a deal in Minsk between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Merkel told a news conference that EU leaders had asked the executive European Commission to prepare further sanctions in case the ceasefire did not hold.
"We hold open the possibility, if these new agreements are not implemented, that we must take further measures," she said, adding that existing sanctions could only be lifted when the grounds that led to the are removed.
The EU has already imposed sanctions on Russia and pro-Russian separatists in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, including visa bans and asset freezes on individuals as well as curbs on access to European capital markets, weapons and technology.
Writing by Paul Taylor