German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Wednesday for the European Union to put new sanctions against Russia into effect immediately because peace plans for eastern Ukraine have not yet been implemented fully.
The EU has drawn up new measures against Russia over its actions in Ukraine but stopped short Monday of enforcing them right away. The new sanctions are expected to deepen earlier penalties targeting Russia's energy and arms sectors and tighten access to international loans.
Ambassadors from EU member countries were holding another meeting later Wednesday in Brussels on the sanctions.
Merkel told Germany's parliament it's important for peace plans drawn up by Ukraine and Russia to be put into effect and added that "a cease-fire and the release of prisoners are only two elements" of the plan.
It also includes the withdrawal of Russian soldiers from Ukraine and a free decision by people in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions on their future status, she said.
Merkel told Germany's parliament "there is not a 100 percent cease-fire, but in any case an improvement" in the situation on the ground. But she said there was "a lack of clarity on the fulfillment" of many other points of the peace plan.
In view of that, "we support these sanctions being published now," she said.
She said the sanctions are not permanent.
"If the 12 points are really fulfilled substantially, we will be the first to lift the new sanctions," Merkel added. "They are not an end in themselves — they are only ever imposed if they are unavoidable."
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