German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says that Germany's policy regarding Ukraine and Russia will be one of the priorities for his country during the presidency of the Council of the EU.

According to him, there is "minimal consensus" within the European Union on the policy vis-à-vis Russia; it includes, among other things, the regular extension of sanctions, according to Deutsche Welle's Ukrainian service.

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"I believe that we need more. Therefore, we want to prepare for the time when we could again talk more intensively about strategic relations with Russia. I think this requires preparations. Therefore, this is a topic that we will deal with as part of our presidency of the Council of the EU," he said.

Maas added that "a solution in Ukraine is needed" to change or restore the EU's strategic relationship with Russia.

He also said that talks in the Normandy format on the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements on Donbas and the conclusions of the December 2019 summit in Paris were moving slowly.

"Negotiations are not easy, progress is limited, but decisions in the east of Ukraine will be a prerequisite for possible discussions of the topic of Russia within the EU," he said.

In particular, he mentioned that there is no complete ceasefire in Donbas and the agreements reached by the Normandy Four leaders at the Paris summit on the withdrawal of forces had not been fulfilled.

It was reported that a new Normandy summit in Berlin with the participation of the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France should be held as soon as possible.

The Ukrainian side hopes that it would be held in August, while Russian negotiator Dmitry Kozak said he saw no reason for this.

Germany took over the six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1, 2020.