GERMAN Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Thursday said that he did not see any grounds for softening the European Union’s (EU’s) sanctions against Russia until Moscow changed its stance on the conflict with Ukraine.
The Germany’s top diplomat said on the second day of his visit to Moscow.
He also referred to a 2015 peace deal clinched in neutral Belarus.
“That has not yet been the case. And as long as that stays that way, it will be difficult to talk about the EU sanctions,” the diplomat said.
Maas added that during his talks in the Russian capital, he had been given the impression that there were new options to making progress in solving the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
He reiterated his call for a new round of mediated talks between the two countries.
“I think things are now possible that in the last months and years were not possible,” Maas said.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine was already the focus of his visit on Wednesday, when he met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
“There is, in terms of the ceasefire, separation of forces and implementation of the Minsk agreement, finally again hope for a light at the end of the tunnel,” Maas said late Wednesday.
Russian annexed Crimea, a strategically-important region and site of a key Russian naval base on the Black Sea, in 2014.
The move was made after Kiev ousted its pro-Russian president in a political pivot towards the West in 2014.
In response to the aggression, the EU issued sanctions against Russia.
On the second day of his visit, Maas met with business representatives as well as members of civil society and young people. (dpa/NAN)
– Aug. 22, 2019 @ 17:45 GMT |