France, Germany hold out sanctions if Ukraine accords break

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PARIS (AP) — France and Germany have warned that sanctions could be leveled if the Minsk accords to stabilize Ukraine are not respected.

President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed for respect for the cease-fire and withdrawal of heavy arms during a joint news conference on Friday.

Hollande said that "every country that doesn't keep its word" risks sanctions.

The two heads of state, along with the leaders of Ukraine and Russia, signed accords on Feb. 12 in a last-ditch effort to stabilize and bring peace to Ukraine — starting with a cease-fire.

The cease-fire was supposed to take effect five days ago, but Ukraine says rebels have broken it 50 times. The rebels deny that and say Ukrainian troops have violated the cease-fire 20 times in the last 24 hours.