Merkel explained the EU decision on sanctions against Russia

The participants of the EU summit came to the conclusion that at the moment there are no conditions for lifting or facilitating sanctions against Russia. This was during a briefing, a video of which is published on the website of the European Council, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“We discussed the topic of Russia and Ukraine and stated that there are no conditions to lift or ease sanctions,” she said. According to the Chancellor, the summit participants discussed the incident in the Kerch Strait and once again noted the need to guarantee the free movement of ships in the sea of Azov.

On December 13, the EU extended anti-Russian sanctions for six months due to “zero progress” in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. At the same time, the European Union did not impose new restrictions against Russia because of the detention of Ukrainian sailors in the Kerch Strait. The European Council expressed extreme concern about the escalation of the situation in the Sea of Azov and demanded that Russia release the Ukrainians.

After the arrest of the sailors the Ukrainian authorities demanded West to impose “Azov sanctions” against Russia. These requirements were joined by Lithuania, which later imposed national sanctions against Russia due to the incident in the Kerch Strait. At the same time, German foreign Minister Haiko Maas pointed out that Berlin does not intend to introduce new restrictions.

Russian border guards detained three Ukrainian ships and sailors on them on November 25. They were charged with illegal crossing of the Russian border and arrested for two months. Ukrainian authorities after the incident introduced in a number of regions of the country martial law.