Resistance to the extension of sanctions against Russia has been increasing among EU member states, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.
“We’re aware that resistance in the EU to extending sanctions toward Russia has increased. Compared to last year, it will be more difficult to agree on a common position on this issue,” Steinmeier told the Baltic News Service in an interview.
The foreign minister added that Germany would stick to its position that the sanctions depend on the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
In mid-2014, the West imposed a range of sanctions on Russia’s energy, banking and defense industries over allegations that Moscow had been meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The sanctions have been prolonged until July 2016.
Russia has continuously refuted all of the accusations against it in regards to the Ukrainian crisis, stressing that it is not a party to the conflict.
Some EU states have spoken out against the anti-Russia sanctions. The Italian and Hungarian authorities have repeatedly opposed extending the restrictions. Last week, Italy’s Veneto regional parliament urged Rome to recognize Crimea as part of Russia and work toward lifting the sanctions against the country.