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German automaker Mercedes opens new Russia factory

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's Daimler AG has opened a new Mercedes factory in Russia, part of a 250 million euro ($281 million) investment it says will create 1,000 jobs. CEO Dieter Zetsche said Wednesday the Moscow-area plant will produce Mercedes sedans and SUVs for the local market, and is part of a strategy to move production closer to customers.

The opening was attended by German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, who also was meeting President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials on a two-day visit. Ministry spokeswoman Annika Einhorn said the trip aimed to address "opportunities and challenges for German business in Russia."

Germany's government stressed the visit didn't signal a return to business as usual. Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Germany's position on sanctions imposed over Russia's actions in Ukraine hasn't changed.

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