Reuters International

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg briefs the media during a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

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TRONDHEIM, Norway (Reuters) - The European Union should keep in place the sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters on Monday, a day after the German foreign minister said they should gradually be phased out.

"My assessment is that one should not remove the economic sanctions before Russia has changed its behaviour. I believe there is a broad agreement about this in the EU," Stoltenberg said in an interview.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was quoted on Sunday as saying the EU should gradually phase out the sanctions if there is substantial progress in the peace process and if Russia showed it was doing its part in implementing the Minsk peace plan for Ukraine.

(Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg; Writing by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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