German Minister of Energy and Economics Brigitte Zypries used her appearance at the Russia Conference to criticise Russia for its economic conduct and to reaffirm the German government’s stance towards sanction relief, in Berlin on Thursday. Speaking to a packed hall of representatives of middle- and big-size businesses of both Russia and Germany, Zypries stated that sanctions can only be... Еще lifted if Russia reaches progress in the Minsk agreement, while complaining about what she said is “protectionist” economic politics by Russia referring to import substitution and the country’s efforts to ‘diversify’ its economy. “We say that the relationship [between Germany and Russia] has blurred. We think that progress must be made regarding Minsk to end the crisis. However, this progress must be achieved by the Russian side”, stated Zypies. “We would like Russia as a member of the WTO to open herself towards her economic partners. Measures that have been taken recently, like localising and import substitution, are in turn not helping. Quite the opposite: The readiness of foreign exporters and investors to get involved in the Russian market is being reduced by such measures”, she added. Minister of Economic Development of Russia Alexey Gruzdev rejected Zypries’ claims saying that “Russia demonstrates openness and readiness to work with every investor in order to create pleasant conditions”. The Russia conference was organised by the German Chamber of Commerce (AHK) and its Russian counterpart.