Germany, Switzerland oppose blind EU sanctions against Russia

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier insists on continued talks with Russia over Ukrainian crisis resolution.

Trust between the West and Russia “is doubtlessly undermined seriously,” the German foreign minister said in an interview with German Sunday edition Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung published on Sunday. However, this should be realised that “without co-operation with Moscow this is hardly possible to reach a political solution in Ukrainian conflict,” he said.

Commenting on EU sectoral sanctions imposed on Russia, the minister added that EU states had different histories of co-operation with Russia “which determines their relations with Russia also in different ways.” Moscow may take retaliatory measures, therefore, “no one should be surprised that sanctions will take some costs.”

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 airliner’s crash in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on July 17 has changed the situation dramatically, the German minister said. “But fury and indignation cannot and should not be the last say in foreign policy,” Steinmeier added.

Switzerland opposes blind duplication of EU anti-Russian sanctions. It will make Switzerland’s position weaker as a neutral-status country, said chief of the Swiss Federal Department for Economic Affairs, Education and Research.

Johann Schneider-Ammann said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag published on Sunday.

“This role will be weakened, if we duplicate EU sanctions,” Schneider-Ammann said, recalling that Switzerland presides in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) this year.