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Germany's chancellor warns Russia to live up to Ukraine peace deal or face more sanctions

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BRUSSELS — German Chancellor Angela Merkel is warning Russia to live up to the Ukraine peace agreement it backed in Minsk last month or face tougher European Union sanctions.

Merkel told reporters on Wednesday that the immediate task at hand was to stop the bloodletting in eastern Ukraine, where a fragile cease-fire is largely holding despite some violations since the Feb. 12 Minsk agreement.

PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, walks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during her arrival at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Chancellor Merkel is on a one day trip to Brussels to meet with the college of EU commissioners. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, walks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during her arrival at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Chancellor Merkel is on a one day trip to Brussels to meet with the college of EU commissioners. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Merkel said that "if Minsk doesn't work, then the member states and the European Commission are quite prepared to take tougher sanctions."

At the moment, the EU has visa bans and asset freezes in place targeting 151 individuals, including several high-ranking Russians.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ruled out any plans to hold an EU-Russia summit in the near future.

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