Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
By Stephen Brown and Timothy Heritage BERLIN/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia launched new military exercises near its border with Ukraine on Thursday, showing no sign of backing down in its plans to annex its neighbor's Crimea region despite a stronger than expected drive for sanctions from the EU and United States. In an unusually robust and emotionally worded speech, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of "catastrophe" unless Russia changes course. "We would not only see it, also as neighbors of Russia, as a threat. And it would not only change the European Union's relationship with Russia," she said in a speech in parliament.