German Ambassador to Ukraine Ernst Reichel says there is no consensus within the European Union about the introduction of new sanctions against the Russian Federation over of the seizure of three Ukrainian boats and the capture of 24 Ukrainian navy sailors in the Kerch Strait on November 25.
"Now we are again facing the question about sanctions, this time because of the incident that took place in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait. And as far as this is concerned at the moment, there is no consensus within the European Union to really go ahead with additional sanctions," the ambassador said at a round table meeting on December 5 on the topic: "Sanctions against Russia: How to Preserve the European Unity?" organized by Kyiv-based New Europe Center, an UNIAN correspondent reported.
He also says it is necessary now to prevent the escalation of the conflict. However, according to the ambassador, this does not mean that the EU will not come back to the issue of introducing new restrictive measures against the Russian Federation.
"But it is felt, at least by some [EU] member states, including my country, it would be counterproductive at this particular moment to go again at sanctions against Russia, because there is already too much tension in the whole story," Reichel said.
"The EU debate right now is less about additional sanctions against Russia on a major scale, but about an effort to defend existing sanctions. That's a fact that may not seem fair here in Ukraine, I understand this, but this is the way the discussion is going on outside of the borders of Ukraine," he said.
At the same time, the ambassador noted that the EU continues to discuss new sanctions in connection with the holding of illegal "elections" in the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas on November 11. "This is probably not a matter which will go up to the level of the heads of state and government [of the EU member states]," Reichel said.
When asked whether the EU would extend sectoral sanctions imposed in 2014 against the Russian Federation, which are expiring at the end of January 2019, Reichel noted that the EU regularly discusses this issue. At the same time, he expressed the conviction that the sanctions would be extended.