Sanctions against Russian Federation to be lifted after implementation of Minsk accords - Merkel

The removal of anti-Russian sanctions would do a power of good to both Russia and Germany, but to lift the restrictive measures it is necessary to meet a number of conditions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told an annual news conference in Berlin on Tuesday, August 29, TASS reports.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her 2015 decision to admit hundreds of thousands of refugees into the country, saying protests and demonstrations would not change her liberal approach to the issue.

The sanctions were placed by the European Union against Russian Federation for backing separatists in eastern Ukraine and Merkel told reporters Tuesday there's still a situation there where "Ukraine does not have full sovereignty".

Supporters of the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party jeered her throughout a 30-minute campaign speech in the eastern city of Bitterfeld-Wolfen hours after Merkel declared comments by a top AfD official to be racist.

"The last four years of the Kohl era was a period of stagnation and political agony", he added.

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"In spite of that, it is necessary to continue negotiations on the possibility of a [political] transition that would facilitate reconciliation", Merkel stated.

The sheer scare of refugees accepted by Ms Merkel's government led to a large backlog of asylum applications.

In a state election in 2016, the AfD scored around 32% of the vote in the city, once the heart of East Germany's chemicals industry.

Merkel is cruising toward re-election in September after overcoming criticism of her handling of the migrant crisis. Along with countries such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, Poland has also ignored European Union policy and refused to take in refugees, citing security concerns.

Merkel said it was important to more clearly differentiate between those fleeing poverty, who usually are not granted asylum, and those whose needs are humanitarian and usually do receive asylum protection.

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The Chancellor was booed as she ascended the stage and the outbursts continued.

Although the plan has successfully reduced irregular migration flows and came as a significant relief for Merkel in domestic politics, the European Union failed to timely deliver the promised funds.

"I still have the strength and the curiosity [to lead]", she said.

The arrests have contributed to worsening relations between Berlin and Ankara, which says the arrests are necessary to protect Turkey. She also commented that Moscow has to cease its actions against Ukraine and that the economic benefits would be good or both Russian Federation and Germany.

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  • Ryan Wade