The United States is ready to impose new sanctions against Russia if the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the situation in Donbas continue to be violated, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said during the Yalta European Strategy Annual Meeting in Kyiv on Saturday.
"The sanctions will take effect until the Minsk agreements are fully implemented. When the Minsk accords are fully implemented, including the return of the Ukrainian sovereignty over the state border, then we can start to weaken some sanctions. But if the Minsk agreements continue to be violated, it will lead to the introduction of more sanctions, and we will urge our European partners to do the same," Nuland said.
At the same time, she said that the sanctions against Crimea would remain in force as long as Ukraine did not restore its sovereignty over the peninsula.
Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in March 2014 after its troops invaded the peninsula, and then began to destabilize the situation in the Donbas. Later, the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR) were created, with the direct participation of Russian special forces and the support of Russian army in Donbas, according to Ukraine officials.
A growing body of evidence shows Russia also supplies weapons to the militants of the DPR and LPR and sends mercenaries and its regular troops to fight in the Donbas.
The European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and several other countries imposed sanctions against Russia because of its annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea and its destabilization of eastern Ukraine.
In March 2015, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said that European Union leaders had decided to align further sanctions against Russia to the implementation of the Minsk agreements and would maintain these sanctions until the Minsk agreement were fully implemented.
Experts estimate that Russia has lost EUR 98 billion as a result of international sanctions.