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    Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 December 2014

Germany’s Social Democrats reject pushing more sanctions against Russia, while western nations continue to apply a harsher stance against it.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned on Friday against the new sanctions against Russia by European countries, saying it will only create more political and economic uncertainty in the area.

"It cannot be in our interests that this runs out of control," said Steinmeier in an interview with German weekly, Der Spiegel. "We need to keep this in mind in our sanctions policy."

Steinmeier said the dramatic fall in the rouble currency and falling energy prices had created an economic and financial crisis in Russia, which would affect the political landscape there. He added that such a crisis would only create more uncertainty, and that was why he opposed further penalties.

Steinmeier is a member of the Social Democrats (SPD) who have traditionally lobbied for closer ties with Russia. Until now the minister had stuck closely to Chancellor Angela Merkel's tough line with Moscow, which has been criticized by the pro-Russian citizens in Germany.

On Friday, European Union leaders warned Moscow they are ready to "stay the course" in a long confrontation if President Vladimir Putin refuses to change it's position over the Ukrainian conflict.

Germany, through Steinmeier, has been mediating between Russia and western countries. On Friday, he visited Kiev seeking to bring new momentum into the peace process.

Germany has been more reluctant over the sanctions on Russia that the rest of the EU. The commercial ties between both countries could affect the German economy if the sanctions continue.

German dependency on Russia's gas, and the fear of a coming recession have put Merkel's administration into a predicament.

The United States also signed an agreement on Thursday – the Ukraine Freedom Support Act – that applies new sanctions against Moscow. The new law also authorizes the U.S. to supply weapons and non-military assistance to the Ukrainian government.




Read also:

Crisis in Germany?

EU Anti-Russian Sanctions Backfiring

Putin Accuses the US of Threatening Russia

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