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Obama Starts 4-Country European Trip With Russia as the Main Topic

June 3 2014, 12:11

Photo:APPhoto:APDuring his four-country trip, the President will be gauging how hard the European Union is willing to push back against Russia, one of its largest trading partners. Obama will have to contend with European leaders who are still fuming over the NSA's surveillance of key allies, dailynews.com reports.

President Obama will face a high-stakes diplomatic test this week in Europe, where he will urge allies to remain united against Russia.

The long-planned four-country trip begins Monday in the Netherlands, and is sure to be dominated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea.

Obama will be gauging how far the economically shaky European Union is willing to go in punishing Russia, one of its largest trading partners.

The 28-country bloc’s commitment to sanctions is key for Obama’s pledge to pressure Putin. Administration officials acknowledge American sanctions simply do not have the same bite as ones from Europe, given its deep economic ties to Russia.

But Obama will have to contend with many European leaders who are still fuming over the National Security Agency’s surveillance of key allies.

“There’s an anger there, there’s a frustration there,” said Heather Conley, a Europe expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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