German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said at the meeting with his Russian counterpart Alexei Ulyukayev in Moscow that the German business was interested in “new strategies and plans for economic development” and expressed hope that the economic cooperation between the two countries would deepen.
“I hope that we will succeed in securing the implementation of the Minsk agreements, which is responsibility of not only Russia but also Ukraine. If we can make progress in this area, then we will succeed in other areas,” Gabriel said.
The German minister expressed hope that Russia could attract more foreign companies and investment.
In turn, Ulyukayev expressed readiness “to do everything possible” to support the German business in Russia.
“We have discussed the development of the fundamental economic situation in the world, in global trade, and what can we do to increase the trade, which significantly decreased in the past two years, what can be done to promote tourism and investment opportunities,” Ulyukayev said, commenting on the talks with with Gabriel.
Following the reunification of Crimea with Russia in March 2014 and an escalation of the Ukrainian crisis later that year, Russia’s relations with the West deteriorated. The Kiev government and the West, on which Kiev increasingly relies, blame Russia for interfering with Ukraine’s internal affairs and, as a punitive measure, imposed several rounds of sanctions against Moscow.
Russia has firmly denied the accusations, underscoring that sanctions are counterproductive and hurt both sides.
Germany is one of the major trade partners of Russia, but the two countries’ trade turnover in 2015 decreased by about a third, and continued to decline in 2016.