Russia says ceasefire in Ukraine not enough

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Russia says ceasefire in Ukraine not enough

Foreign minister says that a ceasefire in Ukraine would be the first step but it is not enough.

Russian Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that the Western sanctions on Russia over its military offensive in Ukraine will not be lifted unless Moscow withdraws its troops from the neighboring country.

In an interview with Bild on Sunday, Baerbock said that a ceasefire can only be a first step when it comes to removing penalties.

It is clear to us that the sanctions can only be lifted if Russia withdraws its troops, she said, adding that peace on terms dictated by Russia will not bring security to Ukraine or Europe. It would be an invitation to the next war closer to our borders. The Russian attack on Ukraine has irretrievably shattered the peace in Europe, and there is no way back to when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation, despite earlier assurances from his government that no attack against Ukraine was planned, according to Baerbock.

Baerbock said that we can never rely on Putin's promises. She said that the international community has a responsibility to make sure that Ukraine is strong enough to make its own decisions.

It is Ukrainians who are dying in this war and are threatened with oppression and tyranny under Russian occupation. She said that no one has the right to dictate to them.

The EU has approved five packages of sanctions against Moscow and is considering sixth since the launch of the military operation in Ukraine. The restrictions that apply to different sectors of the Russian economy are viewed by Moscow as unjustified and unlawful. Russia sent troops to Ukraine in late February after Kiev failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied that it was planning to retake the two republics by force.