Merkel party leader rejects call to end Russia sanctions

Merkel party leader rejects call to end Russia sanctions

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BERLIN (AP) — The leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party is rejecting a state governor's call for an end to sanctions against Russia.

Saxony state Gov. Michael Kretschmer, a member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, met President Vladimir Putin at an economic forum in Russia on Friday. Kretschmer tweeted that "for a better relationship, we need an end to the sanctions."

CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Saturday the sanctions were a reaction to Russia's actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, and "so long as there is no change to Russian behavior there, there is no room for maneuver for a change in economic cooperation."

Kretschmer faces a state election on Sept. 1. The far-right Alternative for Germany, which opposes sanctions, is strong in Saxony.

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