France says Russia sanctions to remain in place

PARIS (AP) " France's foreign minister says sanctions on Russia cannot be lifted until there is progress in Ukraine.

The European Union sanctions were imposed on Russia for backing separatists in eastern Ukraine. Fighting has killed 9,600 people since April 2014. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called on Russia on Thursday to use its influence on the separatists to end the conflict.

Despite a 2015 peace agreement brokered by France and Germany, clashes continue and a political settlement has stalled.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin was in Paris to shore up support for sanctions, having been in Washington on Tuesday for the same reason.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made clear he wants to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has questioned the value of NATO and other alliances.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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