Despite reluctance at home, Merkel shifts toward tougher stance on Russia

By Anthony Faiola, March 28, 2014

BERLIN — As the West considers what to do about Russia, Chancellor Angela Merkel is running up against a force she has repeatedly bowed to in the past: German public opinion.

Berlin has a closer relationship with Moscow than any other major European power, giving Merkel a decisive voice in any effort to further punish Russian President Vladi­mir Putin for annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. But amid fears that Putin won’t stop there, Merkel is facing a complex balancing act.

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