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Russia sanctions won’t end until troops withdraw from all of Ukraine—including Crimea—Germany says

May 2, 2022, 10:16 AM UTC

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made clear that sanctions against Russia will only be lifted after a complete withdrawal of its troops from Ukrainian territory, including the eastern Donbas region, another sign the penalties are set to stay for a prolonged period.

“It’s important that we can withstand every sanction that we introduce, if necessary, for years,” Baerbock told public broadcaster ARD on Sunday. “We will only lift these sanctions once the Russian troops have left.” 

Notably, Baerbock included Crimea as an area that Russian troops would need to pull out from in order to get sanctions removed. Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea in 2014. 

Baerbock’s warning comes as the European Union prepares a sixth package of sanctions that will include a proposal to ban Russian oil by the end of the year, according to people familiar with the matter. A decision on the details of the new measures could come as soon as this week. 

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said last week that Berlin wouldn’t stand in the way of an oil embargo, but expressed skepticism that it’s the most effective means of damaging Putin.

Baerbock, the former Green party co-leader, also denied that Germany’s decision to send tanks to Ukraine has increased the risk of nuclear war. 

“That’s the least we can do now,” Baerbock said of the plan to now deliver 50 Gepard tanks. Russia should never be able again to wage a war in violation of international law, she added.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz had warned previously that sending heavy weapons would increase the threat of nuclear war with Russia, without saying how. A few days later, he changed tack and approved the delivery of the tanks.

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