German lobby warns Merkel against sanctions on Russia
Germany's business lobby is ramping up efforts to dissuade Chancellor Angela Merkel from imposing tougher economic sanctions on Russia.
Business leaders are warning of lasting damage to German firms if Moscow is hit hard.
Although German companies have toned down criticism of sanctions since the CEO of Siemens was vilified in the press for meeting Vladimir Putin in March, a behind-the-scenes lobby effort remains in force.
A confidential paper from the German-Russian chamber of foreign trade shows the concern in German business circles as a May 25 presidential election in Ukraine nears. Ms Merkel will press for more punitive measures against Russia if the election is disrupted.
The paper says the Ukraine crisis is already having a "massive impact" on German business in Russia. Sanctions would lead to job losses in Germany and expose companies to "massive compensation" claims if they were forced to break contracts with their Russian counterparts, it says. (Reuters)