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Germany's Schaeuble: Economic Strength Will Decide West's Standoff With Russia

Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble (L) makes remarks as IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde listens during a discussion of Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, at the IMF and World Bank's 2015 Annual Spring Meetings, in Washington, April 16, 2015. Mike Theiler / Reuters

WASHINGTON — German Finance Minister Wolfgang Sch??uble said Thursday that economic strength, rather than military might, would ultimately determine the outcome of the West's standoff with Russia over Ukraine.

Speaking at a Brookings Institution event in Washington, Sch??uble described the standoff with Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "new systemic conflict" that would be won by the side with greater "soft power" and a stronger economy.

"In the long term, the conflict with Putin's Russia will be decided only on the basis of economic strength," he said.

"European sanctions are definitely having an impact on Putin's Russia," he added. "But we can afford these sanctions only because — and as long as — we have a strong economy."

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