Merkel Calls for Russia Cooperation

Merkel Calls for Russia CooperationMerkel Calls for Russia Cooperation

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday paid tribute to Soviet soldiers killed in WWII as she called for cooperation with Russia amid tensions over Ukraine.

Merkel flew to Moscow to lay a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin walls, in an apparent compromise gesture after she skipped Russia’s main festivities on Saturday, AFP wrote.

Meeting her host Vladimir Putin for talks at the Kremlin, she stressed the importance of cooperation. “It’s necessary for us to work, to cooperate including over complicated situations -- the way the situation is now -- and try to find diplomatic solutions,” Merkel said at the start of the talks after the wreath-laying ceremony.

The two leaders were set to discuss the Ukraine crisis over and address reporters afterwards. Russia on Saturday staged a huge parade to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany.

In February, Putin hosted Merkel and French leader Francois Hollande for crunch talks over Ukraine, in what was the German leader’s first Russian visit since the start of the crisis.

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of masterminding the separatist conflict in east Ukraine that has killed more than 6,100 people in just over a year. Russia has consistently denied the allegation.

Putin signaled his willingness to mend ties with Europe when he hosted Czech President Milos Zeman, one of the European leaders to fly to Moscow for the festivities.

“It was not us who initiated the chill in relations with Europe but I hope that thanks to politicians like you we will manage not only to revive them completely but to also move forward,” Putin said on Saturday.

A whopping 500,000 people marched through central Moscow with portraits of their relatives who fought in the war, in the biggest march of Russia to celebrate the WWII victory.