There is no reason to lift the European Union’s sanctions against Russia as Moscow has not fulfilled all of its commitments under the Minsk peace plan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview published Friday.

 

Merkel told the RedaktionsNetzwerks Deutschland (RND) that Russia had caused a major crisis by annexing the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and with its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

 

“Europe had to react against this violation of basic principles,” Merkel said.

 

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and other leading Social Democrats, the junior partner in Merkel’s ruling coalition, have struck a more conciliatory tone by saying that the EU should gradually phase out sanctions against Russia if there is progress in the peace process.