the prospect of twice as much gas (through nord stream 2) is enticing

Merkel calls Russia an ‘important partner’
Friederike Heine, Peter Spinella, AP, May 2 2017

Chancellor Merkel has promoted ties with Russia during a meeting with Pres Putin. “Russia is naturally an important partner,” Merkel told Putin at the start of their talks in the southern Russian city of Sochi. It was Merkel’s second visit to Russia since in the last three years. Sochi and Crimea are both on the Black Sea. Putin welcomed Merkel to Sochi, saying he would like their talks to focus on the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. Putin also thanked Merkel for the opportunity to discuss preparations for the G20 summit to take place over Jul 7-8 in Hamburg. Merkel spox Steffen Seibert said ahead of the meeting that disagreements over Ukraine have been “burdening the relationship” between Germany and Russia. Merkel plans to meet the leaders of all the G20 countries ahead of the summit.

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