MOSCOW, October 16 (RIA Novosti) – The sanctions imposed by the Western countries against Russia over Ukraine have not put a stop to negotiations with Moscow authorities, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday.
"Sanctions are an important element of our efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine… At the same time, sanctions do not in any way preclude dialogue," Merkel was quoted as saying by news agency EFE.
The German leader was speaking at the Bundestag ahead of an EU-Asia summit in Milan, where she is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated significantly amid the crisis in Ukraine, as Western politicians and media repeatedly accused Moscow of supporting eastern Ukrainian independence supporters. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Over the past few months, the West has introduced several rounds of economic sanctions against Russia, targeting its banking, defense and energy sectors.
In August, Russia responded to the sanctions with a ban on food imports from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway.