Reuters International

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Chanceller Angela Merkel and Head of the Federal Chancellery Peter Altmaier (L-R) arrive for a cabinet meeting at the German government guesthouse Meseberg Palace, in Meseberg, Germany May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Tuesday it was no secret that some EU states were sceptical about extending sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis and it was unclear if the 28-nation bloc would decide to renew them.

"The sanctions are there to ensure a political solution. I don't know what the European Council will decide on Russia sanctions," Steinmeier told reporters.

The energy, financial and defence sanctions against Russia, introduced over Moscow's role in the conflict in Ukraine, expire in July.

He also said he hoped the release of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko from a Russian jail last week would "bring a new dynamic into the talks between Russia and Ukraine".

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr and Paul Carrel; Writing by Madeline Chambers)

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