Vladimir Putin dances with Austria's pro-Moscow foreign minister at her wedding

18 August, 2018, 23:56 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Vladimir Putin dances with Austria's pro-Moscow foreign minister at her wedding

Germany imports 55 billion cubic meters of gas, 70 per cent of its needs, from Russian Federation and the new pipeline would double that. I think its a very bad thing for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and I don't think it should have happened, ' he said at a G7 meeting last month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met outside Berlin on Saturday for talks ranging from the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, to Iran and a gas pipeline project that has drawn US ire.

"Nord Steam 2 is purely an economic project and it doesn't close the door to shipping gas through Ukraine", Putin said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin give statements ahead of a meeting at the German government guest house Meseberg Palace in Gransee, Germany August 18, 2018.

Ukraine's government has been a fierce opponent of the project. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in July.

Other topics on the pair's agenda are Iran, human rights and "other bilateral issues", Ms Merkel said.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his conservatives, who control Austria's European Union policy, have said Austria will toe the European Union line - though they have also pointed to Austria's history of neutrality and its relatively warm relations with Russian Federation.

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President Putin said everything must be done to help Syrian refugees to return to their country and that Syria needed assistance to rebuild.

Photographs showed Ms Kneissl, 53, smiling in a long white and cream dirndl dress and talking to Mr Putin as they danced in a vineyard in the southern Styria province, the venue of her wedding to entrepreneur Wolfgang Meilinger.

"I think it's in everyone's interests, including Europe's".

Austrian politician Joerg Leichtfried of the opposition Social Democratic Party criticised Kneissl's decision to invite Putin to the wedding.

Michel Reimon, an Austrian Green member of the European parliament (MEP) called on Kneissl to resign from her post.

But she was appointed to her job by the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) which has a cooperation agreement with Mr Putin's United Russia party.

Strache, who joined Austria's governing coalition previous year, praised Kneissl on Saturday as a "bridge builder" as he congratulated the married couple and wished them "all the luck in the world and eternal love!"

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