On March 18, sputnik-georgia.ru published an article titled “Germany Called on to Lift the Sanctions from Russia due to Coronavirus” (В Германии призвали снять санкции с России из-за коронавируса). According to the article, a member of the German Bundestag, Waldemar Herdt, in his interview with Izvestia, stated that Germany should waive sanctions on Russia in light of coronavirus pandemics, while Alexander Neu also supported Herdt’s initiative.
Sputnik-Georgia: “A member of the Bundestag International Committee, Waldemar Herdt stated that Germany should revise its stance towards Russia and abolish the non-productive sanctions in light of the novel coronavirus pandemics.”
Sputnik’s title is manipulative and creates perception as if the removal of sanctions imposed on Russia is the position of the entire Government of Germany, while this idea only has two supporters in Bundestag: Herdt and Neu. Both MPs are openly pro-Russian.
In 2014, the EU, the United States and several partner countries imposed economic sanctions on Russia for annexing the Crimean Peninsula and supporting separatists in the Eastern Ukraine, Donetsk, and Lugansk. The sanctions mainly targeted Russian banking and energy spheres.
The term of the sanctions is periodically extended. For instance, in December 2019 EU countries extended the sanctions by six months – until July 31, 2020. The extension of sanctions came after the report by President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to which Russia still did not meet the requirements with regards to the Ukrainian issue laid down in Minsk Agreement.
Who are Waldemar Gerdt and Alexander Neu?
The members of Bundestag – Waldemar Herdt and Alexander Neu have been supporting the Russian policy with regards to Crimea for years. Neu does not use the term “occupation” and refers to the annexation of Crimea as “merging with Russia”, while calling the investigation launched into the downing of the Malaysian Boeing politically motivated. Herdt, in his interviews with Russian editions, has called the referendum among the population of Crimea on joining Russia legitimate. According to Spiegel, he was accused of pro-Russian propaganda in 2018.
Multiplication of the material on the Internet
Dozens of Russian webpages published the article with the same or similar title: ria.ru, tass.ru, ntv.ru, rubaltic.ru, gorod48.ru, rg.ru, klops.ru, gazeta.ru, pnp.ru.
Prepared by Nana Rapava