Germany and Russia are getting closer as Merkel’s deputy met Putin in Russia

“We both have a pressing interest in the political and economic stabilization of eastern Europe, as well as in Syria and the Middle East,” Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Economic Affairs Minister Gabriel said before setting off to Moscow a two-day state visit. Gabriel is traveling with a contingent of industry delegates. They are scheduled to hold discussions with German industry representatives in Russia. Talks are said to center on boosting bilateral trade. (Deutsche Welle)

The conservatives – Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU) – pushed back after Gabriel’s comments. “The CDU/CSU parliamentary group cannot understand the remarks by minister Gabriel on the sanctions against Russia being phased out,” said Juergen Hardt, the group’s foreign policy spokesman. “We strongly support the view of the G7 countries – that a lifting of the sanctions is coupled with the full implementation of the Minsk agreement.” (Reuters)