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    An old man stands in front of a combination of German and Russian national flags prior to a wreath laying ceremony at a Russian War Memorial to commemorate the end of World War II 71 years ago, at the district Tiergarten in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 9, 2016

    Germans in Both the Country's West, East Want Rapprochement With Russia - Surveys

    © AP Photo / Markus Schreiber
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The majority of Germans want relations with Moscow to normalise, Tagesspiegel said on Saturday.

    The latest surveys have suggested that as many as 72 percent of Germans in the country's East and 54 percent in the West want a new rapprochement with Russia, data compiled by the newspaper Tagesspiegel said.

    On Thursday, the head of Germany's Brandenburg, Dietmar Woidke, said that judging by how many people had approached him asking about how to improve relations with Moscow, a clear majority would likely opt for the EU sanctions against Russia to be removed if a relevant vote were held.

    The head of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, for his part, said that the removal of sanctions is a sentiment shared by Germans in both the country's East and West.

    Earlier this month, Klaus Ernst, the head of the German parliament's Economic Committee, called on the European Union to reconsider the expediency of sanctions against Russia, saying that over the past five years they had proven ineffective in changing Moscow's policies and even harmful for German businesses in Russia.

    © Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev
    Russian President Vladimir Putin met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier in the day on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Isaka, Japan.

    Since 2014, the West has exerted political and economic pressure on Moscow over Crimea's reunification with Russia and its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.

    The EU and a number of states, including the US, Canada and Australia, have since imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia's energy, banking and defence sectors. Moscow has denied all the allegations and taken countermeasures.

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