21 March 2018

Merkel and Putin have exchanged beer and smoked fish

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Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin don’t exactly see eye to eye on issues from Ukraine to Syria. But after multiple encounters on the global stage, they’ve learned how the other ticks. reports citing Bloomberg.

Just how well was shown on Monday, when the chancellor was asked about a Russian television portrait of the president in which Putin said that she had sent him bottles of his favorite German beer.

“It’s well known that the Russian president likes German beer,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin. “For my part, I once got some very good smoked fish.” It’s not clear when the gifts were exchanged.

After her 12 years in power and his near 18 years at the top of Russia, Merkel has probably encountered Putin more than any other leader in Europe. What’s more, he speaks fluent German after working as a KGB agent in East Germany, and she speaks good Russian after growing up outside East Berlin and spending time in Moscow.

But that doesn’t mean they are friends. He famously intimidated her with his dog, and she led the way in convincing fellow European Union members to impose sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Crimea.

Asked whether her new government will ease sanctions, Merkel said she’s been waiting since the Minsk agreement for even “10 days of a cease-fire” in eastern Ukraine.

Russia sanctions could be “discussed,” she said -- if there’s “qualitative progress” in eastern Ukraine.

2018.03.12 / 16:50
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