A person familiar with the German deliberations said on Wednesday, signaling that Europe is seeking new ways to pressure Moscow to quell the violence there, Censor.NET reports citing The Wall Street Journal.
The German government is examining ways to push Moscow to change course in Syria, where Russian warplanes have supported Syrian government forces in a siege of rebel-held areas in the city of Aleppo that Western leaders are calling an increasingly grave humanitarian crisis. German and U.S. officials have said Russia is behind some of the bombardment of hospitals and other civilian installations in Aleppo. Russia has denied targeting civilians or populated areas.
One of the instruments the German government is considering to curb the Russian actions, the person said, is implementing new European Union economic sanctions against Russia. Two years ago, Merkel - the EU's most influential leader - corralled the bloc's 28 countries to impose joint sanctions against Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine.
The deliberations among German officials on possible sanctions are in their early stages, and it isn't clear how broadly Merkel's junior coalition partners-the center-left Social Democrats-would support them.
But they are among the first signs that Europe, frustrated by Russia's actions in Syria and fearful of a worsening of the refugee crisis, could swing to a tougher line on Russia in the coming weeks. Senior diplomats from the EU, Germany, Italy, the U.S., and the U.K. huddled in Berlin on Wednesday evening to discuss the Syria crisis. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and other top diplomats held talks on Syria in Brussels earlier in the day.
The U.S. broke off discussions with Russia on Monday as Kerry called on Russian and Syrian air forces to be removed from the skies over Aleppo, the Syrian city where hundreds of civilians have died in recent days in an intense aerial bombardment.
As reported, Washington viewed imposing extra sanctions against Russia as a reaction to its recent actions in Syria.