Merkel to Putin: sanctions harm bilateral relations.

Relations between Russia and Germany continue to develop despite the existing differences, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in the Russian city of Sochi.

"The president and the federal chancellor focused on bilateral relations, this is trade and economic interaction, cultural and humanitarian interaction, so the relations are not even warming up, they are continuing to develop despite the existing difficulties, and have a tendency of growth somewhere," Peskov said, Sputnik reports.

According to the spokesman, the leaders also exchanged opinions on international issues. "This was Syria, Libya, Afghanistan," Peskov said. Following the talks, the two leaders said that Moscow and Berlin should maintain dialogue despite the current political troubles caused by disagreements over a number of international issues, including the Ukrainian conflict.

Peskov added that Russia does not understand Germany’s position on the issue of maintaining the anti-Russia sanctions until the Minsk agreements on Ukraine have been implemented. "Germany maintains its position, which is shared by some countries of Europe, regarding linking sanctions with the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Such position is traditionally met with our incomprehension because Russia is not a side to this conflict," Peskov told reporters.

The spokesman noted that the parties did not discuss the issue of sanctions. "The sanctions were not discussed. President Putin traditionally does not discuss sanctions. The sanctions, their presence and the fact that sanctions add problems to the bilateral relations, have been mentioned. Yes, these have been discussed by Merkel, but the sanctions as such were not the subject of the conversation," Peskov noted.

Peskov stated that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, mentioned sanctions as an element that harms bilateral relations. "She mentioned the sanctions as an element that, let's say, rather harms the atmosphere of bilateral relations, traditionally linked these sanctions with the implementation of the Minsk agreements, which was traditionally perceived by Putin with a lack of understanding, because we categorically disagree with such a linkage," Peskov said in an interview with the program "60 Minutes" on the Rossiya 1 television channel.

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