The US is keen to keep imposing new sanctions on Russia ad infinitum, and German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel warned that there are forces in the European Union who are keen to do the same to “cripple Russia.”
With the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine holding, Germany and France are both increasingly pushing back against those sanctions, however, with French President Francois Hollande calling for sanctions to be ended outright.
Hollande insisted that Putin “doesn’t want to annex eastern Ukraine,” a point Russia has repeatedly made but which has been oft ignored over the past year. As the two biggest economic powers in the Eurozone, France and Germany seem presumably able to stop the expansion of those sanctions.
While the US likely won’t follow suit, it likely also won’t matter, as the US doesn’t trade much with Russia to start with, and the sanctions meant little. The EU, by contrast, is heavily dependent on Russia in trade, and vice-versa, so its easy to see where the nations aren’t willing to leave the situation unresolved over the long term.