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Merkel to Renew Dialogue With Russia Over Ukraine

Merkel to Renew Dialogue With Russia Over UkraineMerkel to Renew Dialogue With Russia Over Ukraine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in her first visit to Russia since 2015, signaling renewed dialogue between Berlin and Moscow.

The Russian and German leaders have scaled back links, as Moscow’s ties with the European Union have plunged to a post-Cold War low, AFP reported.

Merkel has strongly backed EU sanctions on Moscow for seizing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backing the pro-Russian separatist insurgency in the east of the country.

Moscow has responded with an embargo on agricultural products from the West.

In her first official visit to Russia last week, EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, insisted that cooperation between the two sides was “not frozen” but said that progress was hampered by profound disagreements on subjects, including Ukraine and Syria.

Merkel’s visit to Russia comes after Putin called for the countries’ relations “to fully normalize”, while meeting German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in March.

Merkel last visited Russia in May 2015 when she met Putin in Moscow but, like most western leaders, snubbed a Red Square parade for the 70th anniversary of World War II victory.

Berlin and Moscow said Tuesday’s talks agenda also includes preparations for July’s G20 summit in Germany.

Merkel has been the main mediator with Putin over the crisis in Ukraine. She is a key proponent of keeping sanctions on Moscow in place until a stalled peace plan to end the conflict in Europe’s backyard is fulfilled.

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