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“I am trying very much not to break off negotiations with the Russian president despite sanctions,” Merkel told the paper, adding that she had always urged constructive dialogue with Moscow and was ready to continue it.
Speaking of Berlin’s position on affairs in Ukraine, the chancellor said: “One of the EU’s fundamental principles is that we, the Europeans, respect territorial integrity of our states, and that we do not change borders unilaterally.”
Ukraine should be able “to make its own free and democratic decisions” about the country’s constitution and policy, and the degree of independence of Ukraine’s eastern regions, Merkel said. “Russia should also accept it,” she added.