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Iran Press TV

Germany criticizes Russia over crisis in east Ukraine

Iran Press TV

Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:35PM GMT

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has censured Moscow for what she described as Russia's violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity.

"The strength of law is what we believe in, not the supposed law of the strong," she said on Thursday during a ceremony with Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz near the city of Swidnica in southwestern Poland.

Pointing to the sanctions that the Western countries have imposed on Moscow after Crimea's reunion with Russia and the crisis in Ukraine's east, Merkel said, "The sanctions were not applied for their own sake, but only when they became unavoidable."

She added that Berlin would continue to engage Moscow in dialogue.

"To us, neighboring states are partners, not spheres of influence," she said in reaction to Russian President Vladimir Putin's remarks that the European Union has been interfering in his country's "near abroad."

Tensions between Russia and the West heightened after Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea joined the Russian Federation following a referendum in March.

Relations were strained further after Ukraine launched military operations in mid-April to silence pro-Russia protests in the country's mainly Russian-speaking regions in eastern Ukraine.

The US and the European Union accuse Russia of having a hand in the chaotic situation in eastern Ukraine and have imposed a series of sanctions against Russian and pro-Russia figures. Moscow, however, rejects the accusation.

MR/HMV/SS



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