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European commissioner slams possible new anti-Russian sanctions

A European commissioner comments on possible new sanctions against Russia

MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. The European Union’s possible move to introduce new sanctions against Russia would be inappropriate, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Gunther Oettinger said in an interview published by Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper on Friday.

"The sanctions were introduced over Crimea’s accession [to Russia] and the Ukrainian conflict. I believe the introduction of further measures will be inappropriate," the European commissioner said. "At the moment, I also consider that lifting [the sanctions] step by step as proposed by former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel would be wrong," he said.

Speaking on whether sanctions should be introduced against former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, who assumed a high position in Russian oil giant Rosneft, Oettinger said: "The EU was guided by the right motives when excluding part of the energy sector from the sanctions list. Gas and oil are essential for both sides, this is a vulnerable product." "I believe it is important and I want to warn against targeting this sector by economic sanctions," he stressed.

On March 19, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin called on the EU to slap sanctions on the former German Chancellor over his support of projects involving Russia.

Gerhard Schroder served as Germany’s Chancellor in 1998-2005. Since his resignation, he has been involved in public activity and business. He was appointed chairman of the board of directors of the Russian state-controlled oil giant Rosneft and chairman of the shareholders’ committee of Nord Stream AG, the owner and operator of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which supplies Russian gas to Germany.