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The latest: Putin: Europe must help Syria to rebuild



SOCHI, Russia – The latest in travel German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Russia (all locals):

4:50 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin urges Europe to help rebuild Syria to encourage the return of refugees to their homes.

Speaking after Friday's talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin said that European humanitarian aid to Syria and help rebuild the country after the devastating civil war is crucial to create the conditions for the return of refugees .

He said that providing aid to Syria must be "depoliticized," a statement addressing Western reluctance to provide assistance to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Merkel urged Putin to use his influence with Assad to have him repeal a law that would strip the Syrians of their property if they did not claim them immediately

Putin met with Assad in Sochi on Thursday, encouraging him to take steps towards a political agreement.

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4:25 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the supply of gas to Europe via Ukraine can continue even after the launch of a new pipeline to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Putin, speaking after the talks in Sochi with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said that Russia has no intention of stopping gas supply to EU nations throughout the territory of Ukraine after the release of the future pipeline Nord Stream 2. He said that supplies through Ukraine will continue if they are economically convenient.

Merkel emphasized the need to provide Ukraine with guarantees that supplies through its territory will continue.

Germany wants Russian gas and has calculated that the new pipeline will provide better value for money compared to other options, but the new route overlooks Ukraine, which depends heavily on the transit tariffs of the Russian gas.

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9:05 am

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

Merkel's trip to the Sochi resort on the Black Sea is her first visit to Russia in a year and it comes amid tense relations between Berlin and Moscow.

Germany has condemned Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine and its military support to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But when her fourth term begins, Merkel is approaching P In an effort to make some progress in these long-lasting crises.

Also on the agenda is a planned gas pipeline to bring gas from Russia to Germany, and Europe's response to the US withdrawal from Iran's nuclear agreement.

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