The German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier offered to think about possible lift of sanctions imposed on Russia on a step-by-step basis. Head of the German Foreign Ministry connected this process with progress in implementation of the Minsk agreements on Ukraine. As he said, "the proposal he made last week is to think of possibility to lift sanctions gradually under substantive progress". As Pravda.Ru reported, last week Steinmeier recognized that opposition to extend sanctions is growing in the EU. Nonetheless, he noted that it would be more difficult to reach a common stance on this issue than it was last year. The European Union had imposed three sanctions packages against Russia, namely individual, economic, and sanctions against the Crimea. Their duration expires on 31 July. In summer the European Council is to discuss this issue.
The strike was defensive in nature and came in response to three attacks on the US military in February