German Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier questions possible sanctions against Russia over the alleged poisoning of Putin critic Aleksej Navalny.
To TV channel ARD, Altmaier said that Russia will not behave differently because of sanctions and that relations with Russia will harden if punished.
The CDU politician strongly condemned the alleged poisoning. “That was a cowardly assassination attempt against a Russian citizen in Russia – with resources you can’t buy at the supermarket. That needs to be clarified,” said Altmaier. If that does not happen, he says the EU must answer it.
But, argues the minister, “we must also answer the question of what we want to achieve with our sanctions.” Altmaier believes that the EU should consider whether sanctions contribute to an improvement of the human rights situation in Russia.
In Germany, discussions are being held on whether the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia should be halted. The federal government has not yet taken a final decision on this. Chancellor Angela Merkel does not want to rule out anything however, her spokesman said on Monday.
Altmaier also emphasized that nothing is ruled out yet. “Otherwise, we would weaken ourselves,” said the minister. In any case, he believes that merely condemning and imposing sanctions against Russia is not enough.
“That is not enough to take our responsibility for stability in the world.” Altmaier believes that dialogue with Russia should continue. “We need to see when economic sanctions make sense. We Europeans decide that together.”