Top diplomats from Ukraine and Russia will meet today for the first time since clashes erupted in Ukraine’s restive east, accompanied by U.S. and European Union counterparts poised to impose new sanctions if talks fail.
Ukraine accused Russia of fueling terrorism in its eastern regions as a move against separatists in the town of Kramatorsk stalled on the eve of an international conference aimed at defusing the crisis.
Angela Merkel wasn’t in a hurry to inflict economic pain on Russia. Cautious, pragmatic and mindful of German business ties to the country, the chancellor tried to defuse the Ukraine crisis through back-channel diplomacy and frequent phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Present and past owners of OAO Bank Rossiya, the only company hit with sanctions for Russia’s takeover of Crimea, include three billionaires, two proteges of a Nobel Laureate and, according to a Spanish prosecutor, one possible mob boss.
Sanctions over Ukraine may threaten Russia’s investments in assets denominated in euros and U.S. dollars, Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said, urging the use of the nation’s wealth funds for domestic projects.