"The sanctions have hit some sectors of the economy hard," Merkel said in her annual address to the conference in Stralsund, northeast Germany, on Friday.
She told those present that the anti-Russian sanctions, which resulted in a 25 percent (7.5 billion euros, $8.2 billion) drop in German exports to Russia last year, will be lifted in accordance with the Minsk Agreements that the representatives of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia agreed upon in February 2015.
There is no evidence that Russia has not fulfilled the conditions of the agreement, and earlier this month Russia's Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Alexander Lukashevich, told the OSCE's Permanent Council meeting about Moscow' concern that Kiev is not carrying out its obligations under the agreement.
"One of the key problems is that our colleagues pretend that Kiev is faithfully complying with the Package of Measures. In fact, it's the other way round," Lukashevich said.
"The Minsk Package of Measures is the foundation of the peace process via a direct dialogue between the parties to the Ukraine conflict. It provides a framework for a sustainable solution to the crisis, and defines the principles of conserving the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as part of Ukraine with constitutional and legislative guarantees ensuring the rights of the people of Donbass."