German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the West was imposing sanctions on Russia to stand up for international law and added that she would address the Sea of Azov issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin at an upcoming G20 summit.
"We don't impose sanctions on Russia for sanctions' sake, rather we impose sanctions to make clear that countries, even if their territorial situation puts them close to Russia, have the right to their own development," she told a Germany-Ukraine conference in Berlin. "Those are the principles of international law."
The European Union's hawks have called for more sanctions on Russia after a fresh flare-up of tensions with Ukraine but the divided bloc is not going to act swiftly, if at all, diplomatic sources have said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis alos criticized Putin on Wednesday, saying that Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian navy ships violated a treaty between the two countries and showed that Moscow cannot be trusted.
“When you think that there is a treaty between the two countries ... it just shows that Russia cannot be counted on right now to keep its word,” he told reporters.