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A Wall Street Journal report on Friday said Germany’s largest companies have urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel to reconsider the EU stance.
“The largest companies in Germany, including BASF SE, Siemens AG, Volkswagen AG, Adidas AG and Deutsche Bank AG, openly opposed broader economic sanctions against Russia,” the statement said.
Russia has said it would respond to Western sanctions by scrutinizing foreign companies working in Russia’s key industries, including the energy sphere.
“If there’s a single message we have as business leaders, then it’s this: sit down at the negotiating table and resolve these matters peacefully,” WSJ quoted Eckhard Cordes, the head of the Eastern Committee of the German Economy.
The US expanded the sanctions list April 28 in connection with the situation in Ukraine, freezing assets and banning entry for seven Russian citizens and 17 companies. A group of 19 US Republican senators introduced a bill April 30 to further expand sanctions against Russia.
This list now consists of nearly 50 politicians and businessmen from Russia, including Crimea, as well as from Ukraine.
The EU has also expanded the sanctions list, adding another 15 people to it.
Ukraine underwent a regime change on February 22. The country’s parliament ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, changed the constitution and scheduled early presidential elections for May 25.
The Kremlin has hit back at the US and EU’s coordinated sanctions against Russia for its alleged “inaction” in pursuing peace in Ukraine.
“We consider illegal the first so-called set [of sanctions], which undoubtedly causes harm to Russia-US and Russia-EU relations,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday after a summit of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in the Belarusian capital.
Putin has said he is “reluctant to take any retaliatory measures, I hope it won’t be needed.”
“The Russian government has already proposed some retaliatory measures. I think there is no need for that at the moment, but if something like that continues, then, of course, we will have to contemplate who and how works in key sectors of the Russian economy, including the energy industry,” Putin said on Tuesday.