Major German industrial company Siemens voiced support for ties with Russia despite the economic and diplomatic tensions between Moscow and the West. CEO Joe Kaeser visited Russia President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Moscow to reassure him Siemens will not abandon Russia.
“We support a trusting relationship with Russian companies,” Kaeser told journalists in Russia in response to a question whether sanctions against Russian Railways boss Vladimir Yakunin could affect its projects with the state rail monopoly firm.
“We have mastered a range of challenges successfully” over time, Kaeser told German public TV channel ZDF later on Wednesday. “Therefore I believe it is good to stay in dialogue and to talk about the things that are in the way and to find solutions together.”
This could cause a few problems for Siemens since the US put sanctions against Yakunin. According to Bill Browder, an international company that is in the US will violate these sanctions if they do business with anyone on the list. It turns out Siemens is one of the biggest industrial companies in America.
The European Union also sanctioned people in Putin’s inner circle, but their sanctions do not work the same as the US sanctions. German Chancellor Angela Merkel knew about Kaeser’s meeting and said for now business contacts between Germany and Russia were still in place. She hopes, though, that German companies will comply with sanctions if they are raised.
“(The head of BDI industry lobby) told me today that a value system is highly important for business, too because business investment relies on reliability,” Merkel said. “There can only be reliability if contracts and international treaties are adhered to.
“But Russia must know that if certain further international treaties are broken, then we are ready for a tough reaction. That’s an important message.”
Putin said he was pleased to have at least one ally in the West.
“We will try to create beneficial conditions for our cooperation,” said Putin, whose meeting with Kaeser came amid Western calls for tougher economic sanctions in response to Russia’s takeover of Crimea.