Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Doubting Putin, Obama Prepares to Add Pressure

By PETER BAKER, NYT
JUNE 24, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has drawn up plans to escalate sanctions against Russia by targeting its financial, energy and defense industries, but faces resistance from European allies hoping to avoid a broader economic clash with Moscow that would hurt their own businesses.

Even as the Kremlin voices support for a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, American officials remain unconvinced that it has backed up words with deeds. Russia has moved troops back to the border and positioned heavy artillery there in what American officials consider an effort to help the separatists, who on Tuesday shot down a Ukrainian military helicopter.

But President Obama faces hurdles as he tries to keep the pressure up on the government of President Vladimir V. Putin. European Union leaders, who are scheduled to meet Friday in Brussels, are reluctant to go along if it looks like Mr. Putin may be backing down. And American business leaders objecting to unilateral actions that would hurt their companies are kicking off an advertising campaign to oppose Mr. Obama’s plans.

(More here.)

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