Russia's Putin, Germany's Merkel will discuss Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline

Russia's Putin, Germany's Merkel will discuss Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Germany for negotiations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on August 18, Interfax reports with a reference to Dmitriy Peskov, Spokesperson of the Russian President.

"Besides, they will touch upon the issues of bilateral trade and economic relations, realization of major worldwide commercial projects, that is, the Nord Stream 2, and other issues that the countries will find necessary to discuss", Peskov concluded. Relations have been tense between Russia and Western powers, including Germany, over a range of issues, from the Ukraine and Syria conflicts to charges of Russian cyber-attacks and election meddling in several North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member countries.

The two leaders, who last met in May, will hold talks at the Meseberg palace outside the German capital on Saturday.

The Gazprom-led highly controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which is planned to twin the existing Nord Stream natural gas pipeline between Russian Federation and Germany via the Baltic Sea, is opposed by European Union (EU) institutions and some EU members, not to mention US lawmakers, as it would allow Russian Federation to further boost its natural gas supplies to Europe.

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The United States says the project will increase Germany's dependence on Russian Federation for energy. Germany's eastern European neighbours, nervous of Russian encroachment, have also raised concerns about the project.

Asked if Russia had signalled a willingness in the talks to fulfil European demands that Ukraine remained a conduit for Russian gas to Europe, Seibert said: "The talks have not concluded".

Merkel told Putin in May the pipeline should go ahead, but that Moscow has to commit to maintaining some gas transit via Ukraine.

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