Hollande: Russia sanctions should end 'if Ukraine progress'

French President Francois Hollande during a live interview on January 5, 2015 in ParisFrench President Francois Hollande said Monday that biting Western sanctions against Russia should be lifted if progress were made in resolving the Ukraine crisis. He said he was expecting such progress at international talks in Kazakhstan on January 15 in a new push for peace, where Ukraine’s Western-backed leader Petro Poroshenko is to meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also attend the meeting in Astana. The punitive measures were slapped on Ukraine’s former Soviet master after Moscow annexed Crimea, and was subsequently accused of stoking separatist conflict in the east of the country.

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