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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she anticipates discussing with fellow European Union members on Saturday the possibility of applying increased financial pressure on Russia, the Reuters news agency reported.

But questions remain about whether the United States and the EU are capable of putting together a block of sanctions that would effectively deter Russia’s ambitions.

Steve Ganyard, president of Avascent International and former deputy assistant secretary of state, speculated that a desire among allies and partners to protect their national interests could clog the sanctions pipeline.

“To make sanctions work, you have to have some sort of unified block,” he said. “And in this case, that’s very tough to do because the companies and the economies that will get hurt the most are the European countries.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports