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Unclear whether sanctions can influence Russia

US Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin during a press conference on July 29, 2014 in Washington, DCNo one doubts the latest EU and US economic sanctions on Russia will inflict significant costs, but whether they can force Moscow to reverse course in Ukraine is a completely different question. The United States has been making life difficult for Cuba for more than 50 years but its communist government has carried on through thick and thin, even surviving the collapse of its most important ally, the Soviet Union. Similarly with Zimbabwe where veteran President Robert Mugabe continues to thumb his nose at the West, pressing ahead with the very policies his critics most condemn. How effective economic sanctions are “is one of the key debates over many, many years,” said Ian Lesser, a senior director at the German Marshall Fund.

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