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Germany Pushing Non-EU Countries to Join Sanctions

National flags of Switzerland fly over the entrance of the headquarters of Swiss bank Credit Suisse in Zurich.

BERLIN — Germany and the European Union are trying to convince several non-EU countries to join the bloc and the United States in imposing sanctions against Russia for its support of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, Germany's Foreign Ministry said.

Germany is in talks with countries such as Switzerland and Turkey about imposing sanctions against Russia after the EU and the United States on Tuesday announced further measures targeting Russia's energy, banking and defense sectors, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Germany, which had been among the more cautious about imposing sanctions against Russia, is now taking a leading role in pressing more countries to take action while the United States is lobbying Asian governments to join.

In Singapore, a senior U.S. State Department official said he had already been to Beijing and Seoul this week to speak with senior government officials and business leaders, and would be in Tokyo on Friday.

Switzerland, a popular destination for many rich Russians and an important hub for their banking and trading activities, has so far not imposed sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, although it has vowed not to serve as a route to bypass EU sanctions.

Some of the measures imposed by the 28-nation EU will in practice also apply in Switzerland, however, because it is a member of the bloc's passport-free Schengen zone, the Swiss government has said.

Around 75 percent of Russian crude oil exports are traded through Geneva, according to the Swiss government, and Russian assets in Swiss banks stood at nearly 13.8 billion francs ($15.2 billion) in 2012, according to the Swiss National Bank.

See also:

German Government and Business Back Tougher Sanctions on Russia

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