BERLIN, August 28. /TASS/. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said on Friday that her government had not changed its position on European Union sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.
"There is no change in our stance. No one is interested in sanctions. They have been imposed for political reasons," spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference, adding that the sanctions were connected with the difficult situation in eastern Ukraine.
"We want to create conditions for the lifting of sanctions," Seibert said, adding that it was too early to talk about the removal of all sanctions now.
"We will continue talks with Russia in various formats and at different levels," he said.
Merkel said on Thursday that Germany was seeking constructive relations with Russia but the time for lifting the EU’s restrictive measures had not come yet. The chancellor acknowledged that "a number of companies are being hurt by the sanctions against Russia".
"That’s why we want to reach political framework conditions that will make it possible to lift the sanctions," Merkel added.
The European Union and the United States imposed both individual asset freezes and broader economic sanctions on Russia in July last year, targeting the Russian energy, banking and defence sectors as punishment for Moscow over events in eastern Ukraine.
In retaliation, Moscow has banned most Western food imports of meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables worth $9 billion a year.