Little love for sanctions: Ukraine crisis a tightrope walk for German businesses

A Gazprom employee is seen in the Russian company’s main control room in Moscow

As Moscow continues to escalate the situation in Ukraine, public and political pressure is turning against German companies who do business with Russia.

The countries’ economic ties make disengagement next to impossible.
Although all sides argue that international law is more important than profits, politicians appear to be having a difficult time agreeing to far-reaching and painful sanctions, given Europe’s energy dependence on Russia. The business community, it’s also clear, has no interest in such punitive measures…

More: Ukraine’s restive east slipping from government’s grasp: (Reuters) – Pro-Moscow separatists seized government offices in more Ukrainian towns on Wednesday, in a further sign that authorities in Kiev are losing control of the country’s eastern industrial heartland bordering Russia.

A pro-Russian activist holds a a beautifully painted, but still deadly, morning star outside the regional government headquarters in Luhansk, Ukraine

Gunmen who turned up at dawn took control of official buildings in Horlivka, a town of almost 300,000 people, said a Reuters photographer. They refused to be photographed.

The heavily armed men wore the same military uniforms without insignia as other unidentified “green men” who have joined pro-Russian protesters with clubs and chains in seizing control of towns across Ukraine’s Donbass coal and steel belt.

Some 30 pro-Russian separatists also seized a city council building in Alchevsk, further east in Luhansk region, Interfax-Ukraine news agency said. They took down the Ukrainian flag and flew a city banner before allowing workers to leave…