BBC

French President Francois Hollande says he wants Western sanctions on Russia to be lifted if progress is made in talks on the Ukraine conflict this month.

He did not specify which sanctions – imposed by the EU, US and Canada – could be lifted. The sanctions began after Russia annexed Crimea in March.

Mr Hollande said Russian President Vladimir Putin “doesn’t want to annex eastern Ukraine – he told me that”.

Germany’s vice-chancellor has warned against further sanctions on Russia.

Sigmar Gabriel – a centre-left politician like Mr Hollande – said the sanctions were aimed at making Russia negotiate to resolve the Ukraine conflict. But some “forces” in Europe and the US wanted sanctions to cripple Russia, which would “risk a conflagration”.

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