Merkel calls for extending sanctions on Russia

German Chancellor criticises Moscow for ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine, calls EU for extending sanctions against Russia

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) gaze at each other during a joint news conference in Moscow in November 16, 2012

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the European Union on Wednesday for extending sanctions on Russia due to Moscow’s ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine.

"Suspension of sanctions, which were agreed after the annexation of Crimea in violation of the international law are of course not up for debate for the time being," Merkel said.

The German Chancellor stated that the reduction of hostilities, military actions and violations have continued in eastern Ukraine although leaders agreed on the Minsk ceasefire in February.

"A possible suspension of sanctions against Russia is conditioned upon the full implementation of the Minsk cease-fire deal. This has not been accomplished so far," she said.

"I and my foreign minister will support not only the Minsk agreement, but also the extension of current sanctions." 

Even though the sanctions against Russia are not planned to be discussed in the European Council summit between December 17 and 18,  it is expected to be mentioned during the working dinner of European leaders.

28 EU state’s ambassadors will gather on Friday to decide whether or not they would extend sanctions over Russia for another six months.

A demonstrator holds up a sign depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin as Hitler as people march with Ukrainian flags during a demonstration in Istanbul on December 1, 2014. (Photo: AFP)

The sanctions were first enforced in March 2014 in response to the annexation of Crimea and the “deliberate destabilisation” of Ukraine by Russia.

Since then, the sanctions have been continuously extended to bolster the Minsk ceasefire agreement signed in February in the Belarusian capital between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists.

Nonetheless, the agreement is regularly breached, according to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitors.

At least 9,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in April 2014, according to the UN. 

Nearly 20,000 people have also been injured in the clashes during the clashes.


TRTWorld and agencies