Russia should be sanctioned for its role in Syria: German official

Russia should be sanctioned for its role in Syria: German officialA German official on Friday called for new sanctions against Russia over its role in the bombardment of Syria, saying Moscow's involvement in war crimes could not go unpunished, Reuters reported.

Norbert Roettgen, a member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung that Russia's responsibility was beyond dispute.

"A lack of consequences and sanctions for the most serious war crimes would be a scandal," Roettgen said, adding military measures would be the wrong approach.

"Imposing economic sanctions wouldn't work in the short term, but in the long term they would certainly have some influence on (Vladimir) Putin's subsequent calculations," he added.

While some European lawmakers - including Elmar Brok, who is also a member of Merkel's CDU - have called for sanctions, a senior European diplomat has said sanctions could prove extremely difficult for Europe.

A German foreign ministry spokesman told reporters on Wednesday, shortly before Western officials met in Berlin to discuss the Syrian conflict, that there were no international proposals to impose sanctions on Russia over its role in Syria.

Roettgen criticized Europe for not clearly condemning Russia's involvement: "The least that Europe should do is use clear language which calls a war crime a war crime."
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