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The United States and the European Union have imposed a series of sanctions against Russia over its stance on developments in neighboring Ukraine. Moscow has responded by imposing an embargo on food imports from the countries that had earlier slapped sanctions against Russia.
The German expert said the Ukraine developments were affecting the business climate and hampering the implementation of projects by both Russian and German firms. However, most German firms say the sanctions have not had any impact on their operations. Many of them believe the sanctions are ineffective and fail to reach the political goals, for which they were imposed, Harms said.
Harms said he didn’t know any politician who wanted to damage German business or the Russian economy. Everyone understands Russia’s absolute significance as a strategic partner and everyone wants a return to previous partnership relations, the German expert said.
Russian-German cooperation in all spheres has a very strong and broad base, Harms said, adding he didn’t see any fundamental erosion of trust.
There is some alertness and misunderstanding but Russian-German relations are long-standing and pragmatic as both Russia and Germany have common interests, mentality and culture, Harms said.
As soon as some de-escalation is seen in east Ukraine, which could take place quite soon, all these projects could be resumed as the basis of Russian-German relations has not been damaged, Harms said.
The West will not heat up tensions in relations with Moscow or impose fresh sanctions solely because of Crimea, even though it does not recognize the Black Sea peninsula’s reunification with Russia, the German expert said.