Merkel calls Russia sanctions over Ukraine `necessary`

erman Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday said the European Union`s sanctions against Russia were "unfortunately necessary" to convey that the West was serious in its stance on the Ukraine crisis.

PTI| Updated: Aug 19, 2014, 00:56 AM IST

Riga: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday said the European Union`s sanctions against Russia were "unfortunately necessary" to convey that the West was serious in its stance on the Ukraine crisis.

"Of course we need to keep trying to find a political solution here. But I think it was also necessary for us to agree on sanctions against Russia to demonstrate the seriousness of our convictions," she said in the Latvian capital Riga.

"The effect of doing nothing and then seeing conditions become even more insecure could be even greater than if we take action," she added after talks with Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma.
"And that is why we share the conviction that this step was unfortunately necessary," she said, hours after crisis talks to halt months of bloodshed failed to make a breakthrough.

Merkel spoke as Ukraine accused pro-Russian rebels of shelling a convoy of civilians fleeing the war-torn east, leaving "many" dead including women and children.
The crisis talks on Sunday between the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine broke up without agreement on how to end the conflict that has killed over 2,100 people and left the region facing a humanitarian catastrophe.

Merkel today said she understood the concerns of the three Baltic states and Ukraine neighbour Poland over potential spillover from the crisis and pledged support.

"We must ensure all NATO partners under threat or in danger are reassured. We must show we will respond whenever this threat increases and speak with a single voice," she said.
She added that a planned NATO summit in Wales in September would decide on the issue of permanent NATO bases in the Baltic region.

The European Union imposed a new range of sanctions against Moscow last month over its alleged backing of rebels in east Ukraine.
A furious Moscow hit back with a year-long embargo on most food imports from the United States and the EU, which came as a trade blow to some member countries.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Friday the European sanctions had "hurt us more than the Russians", adding that the EU "should rethink the whole policy".