Merkel party leader rejects call to end Russia sanctions

Merkel party leader rejects call to end Russia sanctions
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks to Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 7, 2019. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

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.