Merkel Says Prepared for Broader Sanctions Against Russia

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany will consider broader economic sanctions against Russia if Ukraine doesn’t stabilize by elections planned for May 25.

Speaking at a news conference in Washington today alongside President Barack Obama, Merkel said “we’re prepared for further steps” as Russia has failed to uphold the Geneva accord to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine or used leverage to free hostages held by pro-Russian forces.

“When we will reach a particular tipping point is very hard to say in advance,” Merkel said. “But all I can say is that the elections on May 25 are a decisive juncture for me and if there is further destabilization, things will get more and more difficult.”

The U.S. and its European allies have blamed President Vladimir Putin’s government for fomenting unrest in Russian-speaking eastern regions of Ukraine, almost two months after Russia seized Crimea. The government in Kiev sent armored vehicles and artillery to retake the separatist stronghold of Slovyansk, defying Putin’s demand to pull back troops with Russia’s army massed across the border.

While sanctions aren’t “an end in itself,” Merkel said the U.S. and EU must respond if a political solution is blocked.

“The postwar order in Europe has been placed into question,” she said. Threatening sanctions is “a necessary second measure to show that we’re serious, that we’re serious about our principles.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.