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Germany's Merkel To Visit Moscow Next Week Amid Strained Relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last met in Moscow on January 11, 2020.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last met in Moscow on January 11, 2020.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 20, the German and Russian governments announced on August 13.

Merkel’s office earlier announced she would visit the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on August 22.

It will be Merkel’s first trip to the Russian capital since January 2020, although she has held telephone consultations with Putin several times since then, including as recently as July 21.

“The parties are expected to discuss the current state of relations and the prospects for cooperation in various areas, as well as to consider a number of international and regional matters,” the Kremlin’s announcement read.

The trip comes at a time of strained relations between Russia and Germany, in particular following the August 2020 nerve-agent poisoning of Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, the 2019 assassination in Berlin of a Georgian citizen of Chechen origin that Berlin has blamed on Moscow, and a 2015 cyberattack against the German Bundestag.

Berlin has been a key supporter of Kyiv since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region and began actively supporting separatist formations in parts of eastern Ukraine in 2014. That conflict has claimed more than 13,000 lives.

However, Germany has been criticized for its backing of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project that will soon double Russian natural-gas supplies to Germany. The United States and other countries have warned that the project would increase dependency on Russian energy supplies and deprive Ukraine of badly needed transit fees.

Berlin has raised the possibility of creating a mechanism to compensate Ukraine for lost revenues.

Merkel and Putin will also likely discuss the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.

Merkel is currently nearing the end of her fourth term as chancellor and will leave office after German elections on September 26.

With reporting by dpa, AP, and Reuters
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