Merkel Says Principles of European Order Breached in Ukraine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that sanctions on Russia will stay in place so long as it fails to comply with international demands aimed at halting the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The international community “can’t just let” Russia’s seizure of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea pass, she said, describing the annexation in March last year as an act that breached the principles of the post-World War II European order.

“The annexation of Crimea is a violation of something that has made up our peaceful coexistence, namely the protection of borders and territorial integrity,” Merkel said in a speech today to the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.

Merkel, who spoke on one of the deadliest days of fighting yet between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, said that peace talks held late Wednesday in Berlin between the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia yielded signs of progress, “but there are many steps back.”

Sanctions can be lifted if Russia meets the conditions set, she said, reiterating that the Minsk Agreement is the basis for peace in Ukraine.

“The sanctions are no means in themselves and they can be lifted when the reason for their implementation is no longer there,” she said. “But we’re not there yet, unfortunately.”

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