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Germany has tried to defuse the Western standoff with Moscow over Ukraine, but analysts say its voice is muted by fears of endangering its vast economic ties with Russia.Nervous German industry lobbies have warned Chancellor Angela Merkel that sanctions against Russia could spark a trade war that would cost jobs and billions of euros.When it comes to hurting Russia with stinging sanctions, as proposed by Washington and some EU partners, Germany has backed off and urged caution.Berlin also appeared hesitant to pull out of advance talks for the Russia-hosted G-8 summit in June and opposed kicking Russia out of the big-powers club altogether. German economic titans including carmaker VW and retail chain Metro are heavily invested in Russia.Some observers argue Germany should take a more assertive stance, that the economic danger is overstated and that Russia has far more to lose than Europe.
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