Merkel Puts Further Russia Economic Sanctions on Hold

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said further economic sanctions against Russia aren’t planned for now even as a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine fails to hold.

While the European Union is considering expanding sanctions on Russians to people associated with “illegal” elections in rebel-held areas of Ukraine, the focus is on the humanitarian situation and “actually getting a cease-fire,” Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin today.

“Beyond that, further economic sanctions aren’t planned for the moment,” she said. “And we are certainly examining all reports that say weapons are being shipped into the region again. That certainly wouldn’t contribute to stabilizing the situation.”

Merkel, who has helped lead the EU’s response to the crisis that has escalated since Russia occupied Crimea, said she would “use the opportunity” to discuss the conflict with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Ukraine’s government said today that the separatists have announced a full mobilization in eastern Ukraine, where a cease-fire has crumbled in the past week. EU foreign ministers plan to discuss “restrictive measures” against Russia next week, Maja Kocijancic, an EU spokeswoman, said in Brussels.

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