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Germany Bends EU Rules to Give Russia Spot at G20 Berlin Meeting

German chancellor Angela Merkel Armin Kübelbeck / Wikicommons

The German government has reclassified a G20 meeting as an OSCE event in order to allow Russia to take part, German news outlet Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland reported Friday.

German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt reportedly pushed for the change to allow his Russian counterpart Alexander Tkachov to attend a ministerial G20 agriculture meeting in Berlin on Jan. 22.

EU sanctions sparked by Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014 prevent Tkachov from entering Germany — but reclassifying the event as a one-day gathering for the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) will allegedly allow Tkachov to bypass the restrictions.

EU rules allow sanctioned individuals to attend OSCE meetings, and the organization is actively involved in brokering a peace deal in the Ukrainian conflict. The EU does not make exceptions for sanctioned politicians to attend G20 events.

As well as allowing Tkachov to attend the event, the German Foreign Ministry has green-lighted a meeting between Schmidt and his Russian counterpart “without a press release.”

Neither the Russian nor German Foreign Ministries have commented on the claim.

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