16:50 May. 27, 2016
Kremlin must force back separatist forces and withdraw heavy weapons - German FM F.-W. Steinmeier
Germany may soften the sanctions on Russia in exchange for the Kremlin's contribution to the democratic elections in Donbas region. This is according to the German media outlet "Spiegel" quoting the Chancellor's press office.
Berlin is expecting Moscow to assist in the election process, that is, to make the Russian-backed separatists withdraw heavy weapons and follow the ceasefire.
"Russian sanctions are not what we are striving for. If the Minsk protocol is fully implemented, the E.U. will be ready to lift or to at least soften the restrictions currently launched against Russia," said Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
On May 27th, G7 members supported prolonging Russian sanctions while holding a summit in Japan threatening the restrictions might be tightened if needed. Russia, in turn, named the joint G7 decision a totally absurd, having refused to acknowledge its responsibility for fulfilling the Minsk agreement. Later that day Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev declared Moscow is set to prolong its food embargo until the end of 2017 in response to anti-Russian sanctions.