In probably her last meeting with Vladimir Putin as German chancellor, Merkel urged Russia to communicate with the Taliban the importance of evacuating civilians from Kabul.
Ukraine was another important talking point, but Putin asserted that peace was elusive. Merkel said there was a stalemate and people continued to die. She added that she hoped for some progress to be made in the next few weeks.
Merkel echoed Putin’s sentiments of a constructive dialogue, but took a firm stance on Navalny. The chancellor demanded his release and said his continued imprisonment was unacceptable. Prior to meeting Putin, Merkel attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, marking 80 years since Nazi troops invaded the Soviet Union.
Putin and his large black Labrador called Konni featured in one of the more memorable visits in 2007. Merkel, who was once bitten by a dog, appeared visibly uneasy as the Russian president’s dog casually strode in and gave the German chancellor a couple of sniffs. “I think although the Russian president knew very well that I was not exactly eager to meet his dog, he brought it with him. But that’s the way it was. And you can see how I was trying to stay brave, by looking in Putin’s direction and not at the dog,” she told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung at the time. Merkel’s eye rolls, most prominently on display during talks with Putin at a summit in 2017, will no doubt also be missed in future exchanges between the two states.
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