US may lift sanctions against Russia before end of 2016

 US may lift sanctions against Russia before end of 2016

The sanctions imposed by the US against Russia could be lifted this year, the State Department's Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Daniel Fried, said in an interview with the Voice of America. According to him, it can happen if the Russian Federation will demonstrate the determination to achieve a settlement of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine through diplomatic means.

The State Department's Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Daniel Fried, said that if Moscow demonstrates its commitment to a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Donbass, then sanctions against Russia will be removed. And, according to him, it may happen later this year.

"As soon as the Minsk agreements will be implemented, namely elections in Donbass to be held, military activities to stop and the eastern border of Ukraine to be restored, then the sanctions will be lifted," RBC cited him as saying.

"It seems that Russia is now set for a diplomatic solution to the issue. We can only welcome this and hope that it will be possible to achieve it in the current year," Daniel Fried stressed.

Russian president’s aide Vladislav Surkov and the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, were holding consultations on the Minsk agreements for Ukraine settlement for six hours on Friday in Kaliningrad.

The results of these negotiations were not disclosed, but Vladislav Surkov described the discussions as fruitful and useful. "The consultations we had were quite detailed, fruitful and useful. This was brainstorming of a kind to tap compromise solutions," he said.

The Russian president’s aide said that ideas were voiced on some "sensitive issues" like constitutional reform in Ukraine, security and elections, which can be discussed at the Contact Group or in the Normandy format.

According to State Department spokesman John Kirby, the talks were a continuation of the December meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

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