Putin for discussion with Merkel
berlin/moscow - Russian President Putin speaks Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday evening in her official residence, the castle of Meseberg north of Berlin. This dialogue is the first they hold in Germany since relations cooled in 2014 after the Russian annexation of Crimea and the uprising in eastern Ukraine. Merkel began her fourth reign in March and Putin was re-elected in the same month. In May, Merkel visited Putin in Sochi.
Merkel turned out to be one of Putin's fiercest critics at the time because of the incorporation of the Crimean peninsula. But in recent months there has been increasing contact between Moscow and Berlin. According to observers, this is due in part to American foreign policy, which is driving despair among Washington's fickle Trump traditional allies.
A topic for discussion is the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for Russian gas that flows to Germany via the Baltic Sea. Trump recently portrayed the pipelines as an instrument with which the Kremlin keeps the Germans in the grip and he threatened with sanctions. Merkel and Putin, however, want to continue and see whether the gas, which is also transported via Ukraine, can play a role in their rapprochement.
Putin's popularity is now being affected by serious economic problems, with Western sanctions on Crimea being a major cause. The top of Merkel and Putin will not immediately come up with solutions for conflicts about Ukraine or Syria, according to German media, but the two are working with rapprochement. In four weeks a visit by the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to Berlin is scheduled. And Putin would return to Germany in October for the wedding of his friend Gerhard Schroeder, the former Chancellor.
On his way to Meseberg, Putin goes to southeastern Austria on Saturday for the wedding ceremony of Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl. According to media in Vienna, Putin also brings along a group of musicians who will perform Cossack music.
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