EU Sanctions Against Russia Hurt Trade, German Economy - AfD Politician

EU Sanctions Against Russia Hurt Trade, German Economy - AfD Politician

BERLIN (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 13th August, 2019) The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party advocates terminating sanctions against Russia and normalizing relations with Moscow, Andreas Kalbitz, the leader of AfD's Brandenburg branch, said Tuesday.

In 2014, EU countries began introducing economic sanctions on Russia, which responded with a food embargo on the bloc's foodstuffs. In late June, the European Union officially extended its sanctions against Russia until January 31, 2020.

"Alternative for Germany has been consistently for lifting of the economic sanctions against Russia. The economic sanctions have changed nothing. On the contrary, they have harmed the German-Russian trade, harmed the German economy," Kalbitz told reporters.

He also pushed back against accusations of his party having obsequious attitudes toward Russia in general, and President Vladimir Putin in particular, saying that AfD considers Russia to be a stabilizing factor, vital to peace in Europe.

When asked by Sputnik about a possible contradiction between that position and certain revisionist opinions regarding Germany's role in two World Wars held by some of his party members, Kalbitz answered that those statements had been discussed and that additional clarifications were necessary.

AfD rose to prominence after the 2015 migrant crisis, channeling popular discontent with Berlin's open-door policy. During the latest Federal election, AfD got 12.6 percent of the vote, becoming the largest opposition party in German parliament. The party has been accused by the European political establishment of being a political tool of Moscow and harboring pro-Nazi sympathies at the same time. In 2017, Bjorn Hocke, then-head of AfD's Thuringia branch, called for a revision of "historical memory" in Germany and criticized the Holocaust Memorial on Berlin.

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