Obama’s Europe ties get new test in Russia dispute

Obama, during his visit, will also address the European frustrations, developing below the surface, with the US.

By: Associated Press | Washington | Published: March 22, 2014 10:22:37 pm
President Barack Obama arrives to speak about Ukraine in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington. (AP) Obama travels across the Atlantic next week and will seek a cohesive stance from European leaders unnerved by Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. (AP)

President Barack Obama’s complex relationship with Europe faces new tests during his overseas trip this coming week. He’ll try to persuade allied leaders to hold firm in efforts to punish Russia for its move against Ukraine.

The deepening dispute between East and West is expected to dominate the four-country trip. He leaves Washington late Sunday.

The trip, which includes a stop in Saudi Arabia, was long-planned. But it now provides the U.S. and Europe a well-timed opportunity to present a united front against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Behind the scenes, Obama will be gauging how far the still economically shaky European Union is willing to go in punishing Russia, its largest trading partner.

He’ll also be confronted with other European frustrations with the U.S. that are bubbling below the surface.

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