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Obama, Merkel To Display Unity Against Russia

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are putting on a display of trans-Atlantic unity against Russia, even as sanctions imposed so far seem to be doing little to change Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reasoning on Ukraine.

Merkel and Obama will have meetings, a working lunch and a news conference Friday. That’s just days after the U.S. and the European Union slapped Moscow with new sanctions.

Merkel comes to Washington buoyed by a decisive re-election victory, but she’s under pressure as Europe seeks to toe a hard line against Russia without harming its own economic interests.

Another likely topic will be U.S. spying. The issue has continued to erode the U.S.-Germany relationship despite Obama’s assurances that the National Security Agency would stop eavesdropping on Merkel’s cellphone.

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