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German politician urges to end sanctions, restore dialogue with Russia

March 29, 8:50 UTC+3 BERLIN

On March 26, the United States declared 60 Russian diplomats personae non gratae

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©  EPA/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE

BERLIN, March 28. /TASS/. Further sanctions imposed on Russia will fail to bring about an effect desirable for the West, so all the sides should master their feelings and "make a step backwards" for the relations to improve, Matthias Platzeck, chairman of the German-Russian Forum and former Minister President of Brandenburg, told the ARD TV channel on Wednesday.

"If we continue to whip up the spiral of sanctions, it will not result in peace," he said.

According to Platzeck, restrictive measures "have failed to even approximately bring about" what the West had wanted from Moscow. He reminded that for four years of reciprocal sanctions, cooperation between Russia and the European Union had deteriorated in politics, security and economy.

"We have to look for new ways so as to restart the dialogue," Platzeck said.

Speaking about poisoning in the United Kingdom of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, the politician called for "a sober glance" at the situation. Primarily, the probe conducted by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into the substance used for the Salisbury attack should yield results.

"Germany must make a contribution to impartiality," Platzeck added.

Skripal poisoning case

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, who was earlier sentenced in Russia for spying for the UK, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, UK. Police said they had been exposed to a nerve agent.

Later, London claimed that the toxin had been allegedly developed in Russia. With that, the UK rushed to accuse Russia of being involved, while failing to produce any evidence. Moscow refuted the accusations that it had participated in the incident and points out that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia have ever done research into that toxic chemical.

Without providing any proof, London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and suspended all planned high-level bilateral contacts. In response, 23 British diplomats were expelled from Russia. In addition, Britain’s consulate in St. Petersburg was ordered to be closed and the British Council’s operations in Russia were terminated.

On March 26, the United States declared 60 Russian diplomats personae non gratae. Among them are 46 diplomats from the embassy in Washington, two from the consulate general in New York and 12 more from Russia’s mission to the United Nations.

Germany, Canada, Poland and France followed suit by expelling four Russian diplomats each. Lithuania, Moldova and the Czech Republic expelled three diplomats, while Australia, Albania, Denmark, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands - two. Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Finland, Croatia, Sweden and Estonia each ordered the expulsion of one Russian envoy. While, Ukraine made the decision to expel 13 Russian diplomats.

NATO slashed the Russian mission from 30 to 20 staff. Bulgaria and Luxembourg recalled their envoys for consultations.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry promised that those countries’ hostile steps would not be left unanswered.

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