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German expert: Russia does not seek Eastern Ukraine secession

April 30, 2014, 13:13 UTC+3 BERLIN
“That is why the issue of further sanctions [against Russia] should remain pending,” said Gernot Erler
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People with Ukrainian national flags in Luhansk

People with Ukrainian national flags in Luhansk

© ITAR-TASS/Valery Matytsin

BERLIN, April 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia does not seek the secession of eastern Ukraine, a German expert on Russia told the Saarbrucker Zeitung newspaper on Wednesday.

“That is why the issue of further sanctions [against Russia] should remain pending,” said Gernot Erler, the German government’s co-coordinator for relations with Russia, warning against “the risks of new punitive measures” against Russian officials.

“If it really comes to further sanctions, the West will also have to reckon with retaliatory sanctions,” he noted. “And then the question arises as to whether the spiral of reciprocal measures will be controllable at all.”

He said a third set of sanctions against Russia depended on “whether Russia will bring escalation [of the crisis] to the point when secession from Kiev in the east of Ukraine, like it was in Crimea, will loom”.

However, “so far there is no evidence that Russia is pursuing this goal”, the expert said.

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