The sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis harm trade relations and should be gradually eased, German Wintershall holding’s CEO Mario Mehren told business daily Handelsblatt.
“Sanctions should be gradually eased – in return for the gradual implementation of the Minsk agreements (on Ukraine),” Mehren said, recalling that a similar proposal had been earlier made by former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “We should find a way for the possible lifting of mutual sanctions,” he said.
“They (sanctions) harmed Russia’s economy and trade between Russia and Europe, but we have not made a step closer to solving the political crisis,” said the CEO of Germany’s largest crude oil and natural gas producer, which is a partner of Russia’s energy giant Gazprom.
Mehren warned that if the sanctions remain in force, Russia may turn its back on Europe, adding that Moscow “is starting to lose patience.”
“Russia should be given clear signals that if there is progress on solving the Ukrainian crisis the sanctions will be eased. This would be much better than demanding “everything or nothing,” he said, noting that the demand to fulfill all points of the Minsk agreements has not brought any result.
Speaking on the plans to build the North Stream 2 gas pipeline, the Wintershall’s CEO said Europe “needs to import additional amounts” of energy resources.
“Later the market may freely decide which gas to buy, but I’m sure that there is no more alternative to the Russian gas in terms of price. Russia’s natural gas can sustain any competition,” he said.