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Merkel meets Putin, ties to be bit warmer

Staff Writer | May 2, 2017
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has begun talks with President Vladimir Putin on her first visit to Russia since 2015.
Merkel Putin
Relations   "We cannot but take advantage of this visit"
The meeting, at Putin's summer residence in Sochi, comes with bilateral relations in a trough over the war in Syria and Russia's annexation of Crimea.

They are to discuss both issues but no breakthroughs are expected

Putin will then meet Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.

"Of course, we cannot but take advantage of this visit and discuss bilateral relations and the most problematic points, by which I mean Ukraine, Syria and possibly some other regions," Putin said at the start of the talks with Merkel, quoted by Russia's Interfax news agency.

Ties between Russia and Germany have worsened since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea in Ukraine, with Germany being a driving force behind the EU sanctions imposed in response.

The pair, who are among the most powerful world leaders, have met a number of times outside Russia over the past two years - most recently in October to discuss Ukraine along with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and French President François Hollande.