German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier declared that the federal government has considered the possibility of easing economic sanctions against Russia if the latter meets a number of conditions. Steinmeier made the comment during an interview with Spiegel, part of which was published on Friday, May 27th, on the Spiegel website.
"I always believed sanctions themselves are not the goal. Only when there is progress in implementing the Minsk agreements can we talk about easing sanctions," he said. According to Spiegel, the German government is considering the option to remove part of sanctions against Russia in response to Moscow's cooperation during the local elections in the Donbas.
As the German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer declared on May 27th on behalf of Steinmeier, to effectively implement the Minsk agreements "it is right and necessary to maintain pressure but at the same time wisely apply the instrument of sanctions against Russia." Reuters quotes Schaefer as stating that the principle of "all or nothing" in this case is not conducive to approaching the goal. That is why, provided that the implementation of the Minsk Agreements makes significant progress, the gradual removal of sanctions may also be possible.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Union leaders have supported easing EU sanctions as long as Moscow fulfills its part of the Minsk Agreements. It is expected that at the June EU summit, the current set of restrictive measures that expire at the end of July will be prolonged for six months. The leaders of the G7 expressed their readiness to strengthen sanctions against Russia if necessary.