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Germany stepping up role to resolve Ukraine crisis

Students took part in a performance in Kiev Monday, a day after protesters ended an occupation of City Hall.
Students took part in a performance in Kiev Monday, a day after protesters ended an occupation of City Hall.Credit: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

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BERLIN — Germany is seeking to play good cop to America’s bad cop in Western efforts to mediate between the government and protesters in Ukraine in an early test of the German government’s efforts at a more robust foreign policy role.

The Germans have refused to back Washington’s calls for sanctions against Ukraine’s government to pressure it into accepting opposition demands for reforms.

At the same time, Germany has launched a flurry of diplomacy toward Kiev and Moscow — a key ally of President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine — while trying to promote selected Ukrainian opposition leaders as legitimate negotiating partners.

On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her foreign minister held closed-door talks with top Ukrainian opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko, speaking with the two for about an hour.

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