Putin spoke about the US position more sharply. He recalled that Washington opposes the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline and the Trump administration demonstrates a rare coincidence with the position of the previous US President Barack Obama. The US position has two explanations: the desire to support Ukraine, preserving the transit of Russian gas through this country, and Trump’s desire to make money on LNG supplies to Europe, Putin believes.
The German government also supports the construction of a gas pipeline, but according to Washington, the transit through Ukraine should continue. Merkel spoke of this with Putin. “We see it (the pipeline – RBC) as an economic project, but it has other components. We need to work out guarantees for Ukraine, “the Chancellor said. Putin said that Russia is ready to maintain transit, if it is economically feasible. Previously, representatives of Gazprom spoke about this position.
Nord Stream 2 AG is engaged in the construction of Nord Stream-2. It is planned that a gas pipeline with a length of 1.2 thousand km will pass along the bottom of the Baltic Sea to the German city of Greifswald.
The topic of the crisis in the southeast of Ukraine, Putin and Merkel also discussed, but without breakthrough solutions. The leaders of the “Norman Four” (Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France), which is the guarantor of Minsk agreement, the have not agreed to hold a summit. Merkel and Putin have confined themselves only to instructions to their foreign ministries to once again discuss the issue of the deployment of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Donbass.
In the “Norman format” the leaders of the four countries have not met since October 2016. The four foreign ministers did not meet for more than a year – since February 2017. In the absence of a political impulse, the Minsk agreements are not being implemented.
Merkel, as Vladimir Putin said earlier, suggested that he expand the mandate of a possible peacekeeping mission in Ukraine throughout the country, including on the border of Russia with Ukraine.
During the hour and a half conversation, the two leaders will hardly manage to resolve all hot political issues, but the very fact of the meeting is important as a demonstration of the dialogue, the ex-deputy of the European Parliament from the German “Greens” Gisela Kallenbach is sure. “Merkel came to Sochi as a kind of envoy of the EU on many issues. In particular, on the US withdrawal from the Iranian deal: the common position of Europe with Russia’s support will become even more significant, “said Kallenbach. In addition to proposals, Europe has requirements to Russia, they conclude in fulfilling their part of the Minsk agreements, says Kallenbach. “At the same time, neither the EU nor the FRG has the desire to expand economic sanctions,” she added.
Discussion of the Iranian nuclear deal by the leaders of Russia and Germany is likely to lead to a qualitative breakthrough in bilateral relations, the head of the Moscow branch of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, Jan Drezel, is confident. “If Merkel and Putin together find a solution that is acceptable to Britain, France, China, and ultimately to Iran, it will not only play on the prestige of the two leaders, but will also create a base, restart the motor of German-Russian rapprochement and cooperation in other spheres “, He is sure. According to Drezel, Putin and Merkel met at a very good time: “Before the World Cup 2018 it is important for Russia to show itself as a country constructively working to solve real world problems. Germany is now interested in an early resolution of the Ukrainian crisis, as well as in the unification of the countries participating in the Iranian deal, because it is necessary to submit the options for maintaining the deal to Tehran before the end of June. “