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"Mr V. Putin and Ms. A. Merkel have a special relationship." (see related A | B | C | D | E | F)

The above leaders communicate in German although apparently Ms. Merkel is fluid in Russian. Some journalists pointed out that in Ms. Merkels office hangs a picture of Catherine the Great of Russia. (this image illustrates EuroMaidan Overviews). 

Ms. Merkle advocates caution
on punishing Russia for the unprovoked military attack on Ukraine, invasion of Crimea and its illegal integration as a province of the Russian Federation. 

OPINION: Ms Merkel successfully opposed the U.S. suggestions for stronger sanctions against Russia. The EU sanctions thus far are tepid and have no significant impact on Russia. The EU, by insistence of a London-Paris-Berlin axis, rejected stronger sanctions proposed by the U.S. This is a VICTORY for Mr. V. Putin. Apparently, Mr. Putin can keep Crimea without fear of further sanctions unless he engages in further aggressions. The dissent and disarray among EU members and discord with the U.S. were publicly evident. 
Such disunity may induce Mr. Putin to aggravate the crisis further further attacks against Ukraine. At some point, "peace dealing and wheeling" may result in Moscow joining the axis of "rich" members of the EU which would render the EU and NATO virtually obsolete. The credit for this Kremlin VICTORY belongs to Berlin.  

The above opinion is written before the outcome of the last minute arranged meeting between the U.S. Secretary of State and the Russian Foreign Relations Minister meet today in Paris is divulged. (March 31, 2013) 
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