The European Union isn't a "sanctions geyser" and its restrictions imposed on Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis should be "proportional and reversible," Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni said Friday.
"The EU is not a sanctions geyser, sanctions are an instrument to a political solution," he said during a meeting in Rome with the foreign media.
"Sanctions are a necessary evil but they are not automatically the solution. We are not in a new Cold War," he said, insisting on the need to keep "all channels of communication open".
However, Europe "cannot close its eyes to reality, the violation of a country's sovereignty," he said, referring to Ukraine.
Russia, he said, must implement a ceasefire agreement signed in September in the Belarussian capital Minsk.
Otherwise calls for dialogue between the West and the Kremlin risk being nothing more than "a voice in the desert," he said.
Ukraine and the pro-Russian rebels said Thursday they had agreed to halt fire on December 9 under the terms of a truce aimed at ending one of Europe's bloodiest conflicts in decades.
The unexpected announcement provides the latest glimmer of hope that fighting across the eastern rustbelt of the ex-Soviet nation was nearing a close after eight months that saw 4,300 people killed and shattered Moscow's ties with the West.