German Chancellor Angela Merkel, scheduled to leave office later this year after nearly 16 years, is in Moscow for one final meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Before the two leaders met for talks in the Kremlin Friday, Merkel took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Russia’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow and viewed a military procession immediately after.
Later, at the Kremlin, Putin presented the German chancellor with a bouquet of flowers as they met for a photo opportunity before their talks. In front of reporters, Merkel told Putin though they have deep differences, she feels it is important they meet for talks.
Merkel said the two leaders had much to discuss, including, among other issues, the situation in Afghanistan and Libya as well as bilateral relations.
Putin and Merkel are likely to broach Russia's Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany, which is nearly complete. The U.S. has raised questions about the deal, as it represents a huge blow to ally Ukraine by bypassing the historic gas transit country.
The two were scheduled to hold a joint news conference soon after their talks.
Merkel is scheduled to visit Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Sunday.
Some Information for this report was provided by the Associated Press, Reuters and the French news agency, AFP.