France is hoping that Western imposed sanctions on Russia for its alleged intervention in Ukraine are removed by this summer.
“The goal that we all share is to be able to lift the sanctions this summer because the (Minsk peace) process will have been respected,” said French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Moscow on Sunday.
A truce agreement was reached between Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France in the Belorussian capital of Minsk in February 2015 following several rounds of talks, which have significantly reduced fighting that has claimed the lives of over 9,000 people in Ukraine since April 2014.
While addressing the World Economic Forum in the Swiss city of Davos , US Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Western imposed sanctions will be removed when the requirements of the deal are fulfilled.
“It is possible in these next months to find those Minsk agreements implemented,” he said.
Beside the pullout of heavy weapons, the Minsk agreement also stipulates measures such as a ceasefire and constitutional reforms in Ukraine.
Kiev, Washington and their Western allies accuse Russia of having a hand in the Ukrainian conflict, an allegation strongly rejected by the Kremlin.
There are conflicting reports about the state of the Minsk agreement.
Kiev and the pro-Russians have accused each other of continuing to use heavy artillery, thus violating the ceasefire deal. Some reports have previously said that the heavy weapons have actually been withdrawn from front lines.