Austrian Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner representing the Austrian People’s Party (OVP) reiterated his call for gradual lifting of anti-Russia sanctions.

 

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“I support gradual lifting of the anti-Russia sanctions linked to the progress in implementation of the Minsk agreements … I believe that both sides including Ukraine must fulfill their obligations,” Mitterlehneher told German newspaper Die Welt on Sunday.

 

He pointed out that tightening sanctions would bring harm rather than benefits.

 

“Further endless tightening of sanctions will bring nothing. That does not contribute to solution of the problem as the practice shows,” Mitterlehneher said.

 

He added that the sanctions should not be automatically prolonged and called for more discussions on the issue.

 

Mitterlehner already called for lifting the sanctions in February saying that they had affected over 1,500 Austrian companies and 40,000 employees.

 

Relations between Russia and the West have soured amid the crisis in Ukraine. Brussels, Washington and their allies have introduced several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions over Crimea rejoining Russia in 2014 and over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the conflict between the eastern Ukrainian militia and Kiev.

 

Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations, warning that the Western sanctions are counterproductive and undermine global stability.