05:36 GMT +324 January 2019
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    The Russian flag flutters between the flags of Germany (L) and Europe as in the background is seen the cupola of the Reichstag housing the Bundestag at the Chancellery in Berlin

    Restoration of Berlin-Moscow Ties Depends Heavily on Russia

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    Ronald Pofalla, Chancellor Angela Merkel's former chief of staff, said that Western sanctions against Russia are currently inevitable, although it would be possible to normalize relations between Russia and the West in the event of the implementation of the Minsk agreements on Ukrainian reconciliation.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — The potential for a rapprochement between Berlin and Moscow, with the full restoration of bilateral ties, greatly depends Russia, Ronald Pofalla, Chancellor Angela Merkel's former chief of staff, said.

    "Now I have hope that we will move further by small steps and it depends on Russia to a great extent. I have an impression that the German chancellor and the Russian president, as well as our foreign ministers maintain frequent contact with each other. Each side definitely knows what the other side expects of it," Pofalla, who also served as the federal minister for Special Affairs, told RIA Novosti in an interview.

    According to Pofalla, Western sanctions against Russia are currently inevitable, although it would be possible to normalize relations between Russia and the West in the event of the implementation of the Minsk agreements on Ukrainian reconciliation.

    Since 2014, relations between Russia and the West, including Germany, deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine. Brussels, Washington and their allies have introduced several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions since Crimea became part of Russia in 2014 and over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations, warning that the Western sanctions are counterproductive and undermine global stability.

    Russia in turn introduced a one-year food embargo in August 2014 on products originating in states that imposed sanctions against it. The ban has since been extended.


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