MOSCOW (Sputnik) – German Vice Chancellor and Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Sunday that he supported the normalization of relations between the West and Russia.
“I think the period of frosty relations with Russia should end,” the politician said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
Gabriel added that the decision to exclude Russia from what was the G8 group of leading economies was not far-sighted.
"Of course, the Russian Federation must first adhere to the Minsk deal in resolving the Ukraine crisis. In the long term, it makes no sense to ask [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to resolve the conflict, and at the same time to exclude him from the G8," the politician said.
The G7 group is considered to be a club of the world’s largest economies. It was known as G8 before the seven industrial nations bowed out of the G8 summit in Russia’s resort city of Sochi at the height of the 2014 Ukrainian crisis and met in Brussels without Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia's relations with the West, including the United States and the European Union, deteriorated dramatically following the reunification of Crimea with Russia in March 2014 and an escalation of the Ukrainian crisis later that year.
Washington, Brussels and their allies imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia, accusing Moscow of meddling in Ukrainian internal affairs. Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations.