Sanctions against Russia should remain until Moscow complies with the obligations of Minsk agreement, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Monday.
Biden made his comments in a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
“We made it clear with our partners from the EU and the G7 that sanctions on Russia should continue until it completely complied with its obligations under the Minsk agreement,” Biden said in Ukraine.
“The sanctions related to Crimea need to remain as long as Russia does not return Crimea to Ukraine,” added Biden.
Poroshenko said sanctions alone were not a goal, rather an “important” means of pressure, influence and motivation to prevent Russia from violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Meanwhile, Poroshenko ordered the Foreign Ministry to file lawsuit against Russia to the UN’s International Court of Justice regarding “its violation of the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism”, the presidency announced in a statement.
Poroshenko said since three years Russia has “brutally” violated international law in annexed Crimea.
“Russia has to pay the price for its aggressiveness,” he added.
Crimea was formally annexed by Moscow in March 2014 after an illegal independence vote on the heels of violent anti-government protests which led to the overthrow of then-President Victor Yanukovich.
The UN General Assembly had voted nearly unanimously to proclaim the Russian annexation as illegal.
Along with many UN countries, the U.S., the EU, and Turkey also do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.
Following the Crimean annexation, fighting also broke out in eastern Ukraine involving ethnic Russian rebel forces.
Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists has seen around 9,700 killed, according to the UN.
Despite the Minsk cease-fire agreement between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists in February 2015, implementation has remained stalled.