NEWSWATCH: “Step-by-Step Rapprochement. Germany Considers Easing of Russia Sanctions. Standing tough on Russia remains official policy, but Germany has begun working on the careful easing of sanctions imposed following Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine. The US is opposed, but many in the EU could support the new approach.” – Der Spiegel

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… What Merkel didn’t say … is that behind the scenes, her government has long since developed concrete plans for a step-by-step easing of the sanctions against Russia and that the process could begin as early as this year. … the message has been that the trade and travel restrictions will only be lifted once all the provisions foreseen by the Minsk Protocol have been fulfilled. … however, Berlin is prepared to make concessions … on the condition that progress is made on the Minsk process.  * * * Mistrust remains extreme on both sides, as does frustration. Putin’s military provocations have made the present the most dangerous period since the end of the Cold War. NATO, meanwhile, is planning to pass a resolution at its early July summit that will provide for an expansion of the alliance’s presence in Eastern Europe — a move that Russia is certain to interpret as a provocation. … though[] the West has shown an interest in increased dialogue with Moscow after an extended period of virtual silence. The most obvious signal is the reactivation of the NATO-Russia Council ….
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… Berlin’s new approach to Russia is not without risk. Indeed, even if the EU agrees collectively to pursue such a course in relation to Moscow, there is a danger that Russia will simply reject it as being too little, too late.

Click here for Der Spiegel: Step-by-Step Rapprochement. Germany Considers Easing of Russia Sanctions. Standing tough on Russia remains official policy, but Germany has begun working on the careful easing of sanctions imposed following Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine. The US is opposed, but many in the EU could support the new approach.