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Russian Federation sanctions to be lifted once Ukraine ceasefire is agreed, says Merkel

Fliegerhorst Büchel Atomwaffenstationierung USA Eifel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she has no regrets about her 2015 decision to open the country's borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees and added she will not be deterred from campaigning by angry hecklers.

The issue of migration has played an only moderate role in the German election campaign and Merkel is widely expected to win a fourth term in next month's vote.

The chancellor has been holding rallies across the country for more than two weeks now, touting her 12-year record of halving unemployment, citing progress in the refugee crisis and pledging expanded broadband access.

"We demand the release of Deniz Yücel, Peter Steudtner and Mesale Tolu", Merkel said in reference to three German citizens (a journalist, a human rights activist and a translator, respectively) imprisoned in Turkey.

Merkel and Macron said they were concerned that the security situation in eastern Ukraine had not significantly improved since they held a four-way telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in the so-called Normandy format on August 22.

"Some believe the problems in Germany can be fixed by screaming - but I don't think so", she said. Instead, the comments suggest Merkel will continue to push the current German strategy for the eurozone, placing emphasis on economic reforms in member countries rather than pooling financial risk through common debt issuance and other measures.

"I've already mentioned Martin Schulz at least once so that you wouldn't say that", Merkel responded, when asked about her reticence.

"The last four years of the Kohl era was a period of stagnation and political agony", he added. "I want to spare Germany that again", Schulz said.

As she battles for re-election, Mrs Merkel has been subjected to ridicule and protest over her laissez-faire stance on migration.

Responding to pressure from her opponent, Ms Merkel said she could envisage legislation to enable vehicle owners to file collective lawsuits against carmakers over excessively polluting diesel engines.

However, she admitted that European Union law at the time had been inadequate for dealing with the enormous refugee influx that ensued.

But she says "Europe itself still hasn't done its homework to this day", with some countries refusing to accept a share of the refugees arriving in Europe.

On the future of the EU, the German leader said she backed plans to turn the European Stability Mechanism crisis fund into a full-blown European Monetary Fund.