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Germany Supports Sanctions Extension Against Russia Over Kerch Incident - Merkel

© REUTERS / Fabrizio BenschBundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel
Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in parliament that Germany would support the extension of sanctions against Russia at the upcoming EU summit.

"If we call things as they are, we will support the extension of sanctions [against Russia]," Merkel said in her speech broadcast by the Bundestag website.

The chancellor has also expressed concern about the actions of Russia and said that Germany had not accepted Russia's claims to the Sea of Azov.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a press conference following the Russia-France-Germany-Turkey summit on Syria in Istanbul on October 27, 2018. - Sputnik International
Putin, Merkel Discuss Kerch Strait Incident, Syria, INF Treaty in Phone Talks
The statement comes after Russian envoy to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said on 10 December that the US authorities had attempted to use the Kerch Strait incident as a tool to convince Brussels to increase the EU’s sanctions pressure on Russia, but had not succeeded.

Before that, on 28 November, US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker stated that the United States would like its European allies to consider more closely the possibility of expanding sanctions against Russia due to the incident in the Kerch Strait.

READ MORE: EU Members Lack Common Position on Sanctions Over Kerch Strait Incident — Source

Three ships of the Ukrainian Navy — Berdyansk, Nikopol, and Yany Kapu — breached the Russian border, entered Russian territorial waters that were temporarily closed and began moving toward the Kerch Strait, which serves as the entrance into the Sea of Azov on 25 November. The Ukrainian vessels and their crew were detained by Russia after failing to respond to a lawful demand to stop.

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In response to the incident, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree declaring martial law in several Ukrainian regions located near the Russian border, and the coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the incident was a provocation prepared in advance as a pretext to introduce martial law. Putin said the provocation could be linked to Poroshenko's low approval ratings ahead of the presidential campaign set to start in late December.

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