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Merkel and Putin to debate Afghanistan, different ‘massive’ points



BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to carry talks in Moscow on Friday amid the disaster unfolding in Afghanistan and as Russia’s remedy of opposition politician Alexei Navalny and Ukraine stay a supply of ongoing pressure between the 2 leaders’ nations.

Different difficult points which can be sure to play a task within the assembly are a fuel pipeline between Russia and Germany opposed by the US, the repression of dissent in Belarus, and allegations that the Belarusian authorities has channeled migrants into Latvia, Lithuania and Poland with the goal of destabilizing the European Union.

Merkel’s go to to Moscow comes because the chancellor is nearing the tip of her nearly 16-year-long management of Germany. She and Putin, who has served as Russia’s president or prime minister since 2000, managed to keep up a line of communication over time regardless of their many political variations.

Nonetheless, the non-public relationship between the 2 has deteriorated since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and backed separatist rebels in jap Ukraine, and because of different authoritarian actions by Moscow.

Friday’s talks in Moscow will “certainly be in regards to the massive excellent worldwide questions,” Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert instructed reporters in Berlin earlier this week. “Clearly Afghanistan. Moreover, the battle in jap Ukraine, for the answer and settlement of which Russia might do rather more.”

“Belarus, a rustic, a dictator, who goes towards his personal folks within the worst form of means and on whom the Russian management has affect as we imagine,” Seibert added as he listed attainable speaking factors.

Merkel is heading to Russia on the anniversary of Navalny falling gravely ailing whereas on a aircraft flying over Siberia on Aug. 20, 2020. At his spouse’s insistence, the opposition chief was transferred for medical remedy to Germany, the place officers stated checks revealed he had been poisoned with a Soviet-developed nerve agent.

Navalny, who’s Putin’s most outspoken critic, spent 5 months in Germany recovering and blamed the poisoning on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusation.

Upon his return to Russia in January, Navalny was instantly arrested and jailed. A month later, he was ordered to serve 2½ years in jail for violating the phrases of a suspended sentence from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that he dismissed as politically motivated.

“This nonetheless unsolved case is placing a really extreme burden on the connection to Russia,” Seibert stated. “Mr. Navalny is wrongfully imprisoned.”

Russia’s Overseas Ministry launched a prolonged assertion Wednesday about “the Navalny case,” charging that actions by “Germany and its allies” over the previous 12 months indicated “a deliberate provocation aimed toward discrediting Russia within the eyes of the worldwide group and at damaging its nationwide pursuits.”

The ministry accused Berlin of failing to offer proof that might help their “brazen allegations” that Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent. It stated Germany left authorized requests from Russian legislation enforcement with none “significant solutions” and as an alternative performed “bureaucratic ping-pong” with Moscow.

Merkel, 67, who grew up in communist East Germany and is fluent in Russian, has at all times pressured that relations with Russia can solely enhance by dialogue. Her go to to Moscow shall be one in every of her final journeys overseas as chancellor since she just isn’t working in Germany’s nationwide election subsequent month.

Putin, 68, who has been in energy for greater than 20 years, is Russia’s longest-serving chief since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Beneath communism within the Eighties, he labored for the Soviet’s intelligence service KGB in East Germany.

Regardless of his and Merkel’s years of expertise as leaders and with one another, specialists are skeptical Friday’s assembly will enhance the ties between Germany and Russia.

“Russia has change into an authoritarian regime,” Stefan Meister, a political analyst with the German Council on Overseas Relations instructed The Related Press. “It’s not interested by enhancing relations with the west.”

The deterioration of relations between the 2 nations is mirrored within the worsening of the non-public relationship of their longtime leaders, Meister stated.

“Mrs. Merkel, as an East German and together with her background, proper from the beginning understood higher than her predecessors how Russia works and the way Putin operates. There at all times was a matter-of-fact relationship…primarily based on respect,” Meister stated, including that each one modified with the start of armed hostilities in jap Ukraine.

“The massive break was the Russia-Ukraine battle,” Meister added.

Combating between Russia-backed separatists and authorities forces in jap Ukraine erupted after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and has left greater than 14,000 useless.

Efforts to barter a political settlement beneath the 2015 Minsk agreements brokered by France and Germany have stalled, and the EU has imposed sanctions towards Russia for failing to stay as much as its peace commitments in Ukraine.

Merkel plans to journey again to Berlin on Friday night time and to move to Kyiv on Sunday to satisfy with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

One other matter of dialogue with Putin will possible be the practically completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline that can carry pure fuel from Russia to Germany. The mission has angered the US and a few European nations, however the U.S. and Germany introduced a deal final month to permit its completion.

Critics say the pipeline threatens European vitality safety, heightens Russia’s affect and poses dangers to Ukraine and Poland in bypassing each nations.

Concerning Belarus, Merkel earlier this week accused President Alexander Lukashenko of a “hybrid assault” towards the EU by encouraging migrants to cross the borders into Lithuania, Latvia and Poland in retaliation to the EU’s sanctions towards Belarus.

Merkel stated she would elevate the subject with Putin.

Belarus relies upon closely on Russian vitality provides and Moscow has licensed loans to prop up the nation’s beleaguered economic system.


Frank Jordans and Dorothee Thiesing contributed reporting from Berlin, Daria Litvinova contributed reporting from Moscow.


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