Germany’s Angela Merkel will visit Sochi, Russia, for talks on May 2 with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first bilateral visit since Maidan revolution in Ukraine and following sanctions over Crimea in 2014.
The talks will be ‘pragmatic’ with no immediate prospect that Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis will be lifted, but Merkel’s visit sends a messagel that Germany, the European Union’s foremost power, is willing to relaunch dialog with the Kremlin.
Some experts say that the partial lifting of sanctions is possbile already in 2017.
The agenda of Merkel’s visit has yet to be made public, but talks are likely to focus on energy projects, Minsk Agreements, EU sanctions, and trade relations between Germany and Russia.
Germany is also president of the G20 group of leading nations this year and Merkel will need to meet with key members ahead of an upcoming summit.
The Summit of the Heads of State and Government will be held in Hamburg on 7 and 8 July 2017.