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German Chancellor Merkel says continued sanctions on Russia over Ukraine 'unavoidable'

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BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says continued sanctions against Russia are "unavoidable" and that it will take "patience and perseverance" to end the crisis in Ukraine.

Speaking to Parliament on Wednesday, Merkel said "nothing excuses or justifies Russia's annexation of Crimea and nothing excuses Russia's direct or indirect involvement in the fighting in Donetsk and Lugansk."

PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the final four days debate of a debt free national budget for 2015 at the parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the final four days debate of a debt free national budget for 2015 at the parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

She said the possibility of a cease-fire in east Ukraine remains far removed, "and therefore economic sanctions remain unavoidable and show that in our efforts to get through the crisis we will need patience and perseverance."

Merkel has spoken regularly with Russian President Vladimir Putin since the crisis began, and recently met with him at length at the Group of 20 summit in Australia.

Following that meeting, she accused Russia of undermining peace across Europe.

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