The current policy of “saber rattling” should not continue, Erwin Sellering, the prime minister of the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, told Germany’s weekly Welt am Sonntag newspaper, as he called for lifting anti-Russian sanctions.


“The tit-for-tat sanctions have brought nothing. They should be lifted as soon as possible,” Sellering, who represents the Social Democrats, told Welt am Sonntag, adding that Russia and Western countries should “move closer” again.


His words were partly echoed by Thorsten Schaefer-Guembel, vice chairman of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), which now forms the ruling coalition with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).


“The SPD should now breathe new life into the policy of détente right now, in the times of crisis,” he said, stressing that Germany should“hold all negotiation channels open” and rely on diplomacy and bringing “change through rapprochement,” particularly in its relations with Russia.


He called Russia “an important actor, without which the resolution of many global issues, including [bringing] peace to Syria, is impossible,”although he also stressed that Russia is a “difficult” partner.


Such comments from SPD politicians worry their coalition partners. Peter Tauber, CDU’s secretary general, told Welt am Sonntag that he is concerned by “growing anti-US sentiment” in German society, accusing Germans of having a “double morality,” meaning they tolerate Russia’s actions in Syria and Ukraine, but would allegedly never tolerate anything of the kind done by the US, in his view.