Updated 2:05 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) – European Union member states will discuss the lifting of sanctions against Russia in late October, the head of European Union's delegation in Russia, Vygaudas Usackas said Tuesday.
"The sanctions will be reviewed in the end of this month, it depends on progress and how the situation stabilizes, [as well as on] troop withdrawal and border control. On the basis of these results we will make our decision on possible partial or full removal of sanctions," Usackas told reporters.
On September 5, representatives of Kiev and southeastern Ukraine's independence leaders reached a ceasefire deal at a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine, also comprising Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe. The Group's next meeting in Minsk on September 19 resulted in signing of a memorandum outlining steps for ceasefire implementation.
Among other points, Minsk memorandum specified that all the foreign armed groups, military equipment, as well as fighters and mercenaries shall withdraw from the Ukrainian territory under the supervision of the OSCE. Border demarcation between the Ukrainian forces and eastern Ukraine independence supporters would also pass along the line of contact of September 19.
The European Union has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia's largest banks, energy and defense companies, as well as certain individuals, over the country's alleged meddling in the Ukrainian conflict. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in what it describes as "Ukraine's internal conflict" and made every effort possible to de-escalate the ongoing tensions.
As for the sanctions, Russia deemed them as counterproductive and threatening to international peace and stability. Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated that attempts to sever economic ties between Russia and the European Union would not contribute to successful business activities. The top diplomat added that Russia would not discuss any preconditions for the lifting of sanctions as it sees them as illegal to begin with.