EU's Tusk Says Sanctions on Russia Must Be Maintained

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Europe must maintain pressure on Russia with sanctions until the Kiev government has full control of Ukraine, the president of the European Council Donald Tusk said in a joint interview with several newspapers published on Monday.

EU's Tusk Says Sanctions on Russia Must Be Maintained

He also warned against the danger of a Greek exit from the euro, a scenario he called "idiotic", and said Europe needed to work out a clearer approach to its overall security policy in nearby crisis regions including Libya and Russia.

Tusk, the former prime minister of Poland, has been one of the strongest critics of Russia's role in the crisis in Ukraine and repeated that he had little confidence in Moscow.

"I'm skeptical about the goodwill of the Russians and I'm convinced that what's needed is to maintain pressure, not discuss details," he was quoted as saying by Italian daily La Stampa, one of six European newspapers which took part in the interview.

He said the Minsk accord brokered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, which calls for an end to fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists, needed to be fully implemented.

"If we want to support the efforts of Merkel and Hollande, we have to keep up sanctions until there is full respect for the agreements. That is until Kiev is responsible for its national frontiers," Tusk was quoted as saying.

The 28-nation bloc remains divided, with some member states arguing for more sanctions, others reluctant to go further and a few lobbying privately for an easing. Economic sanctions on Russia expire in July and renewing them would need approval from all countries, Reuters reported.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, arriving in Brussels for talks with EU peers, said the bloc must stand firm.

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