Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany — a pivotal figure in the standoff between Russia and the West — is in Washington for talks with President Barack Obama at a crucial point in the crisis.
When they meet Friday, the two leaders are expected to discuss when to pull the trigger on tougher sanctions against Russia for its aggression in Ukraine, including hitting the economically vital Russian energy industry.
Obama wants the United States and Europe to stand together and force Russia to rethink its moves in Ukraine. That is a trickier proposition for Germany, which would be hit harder by blowback from major sanctions because of its huge economic interests in Russia.
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