- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 7, 2015

LAS VEGAS (AP) - France’s economy minister says Europeans should work together to pressure Russia for a solution over Ukraine so that all sides can ease sanctions that are hurting European economies.

Emmanuel Macron told The Associated Press that Europe has a “collective responsibility” to maintain pressure on Russia over its involvement in tensions in eastern Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea.

In an interview in Las Vegas on Tuesday, he said the European Union sanctions can’t be eased or lifted “without a change on the Russian side.”

But he also expressed “concern” about the “economic side effects” of the sanctions on European businesses, such as oil companies and food producers that do business with Russia.

Despite those concerns, some EU members are strongly opposed to easing sanctions and no changes are expected soon.

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