German economy minister to visit Russia for energy and economic issues

German economy minister Peter Altmaier is set to pay a on short-notice visit to Russia and Ukraine this coming Sunday and Monday (May 13-14), dpa learned on Monday from a government source.

Altmaier is set to speak with his counterparts about energy and economic policy questions, the source said.

The controversial Baltic Sea oil pipeline project “Nord Stream 2” and the future role of Ukraine as a natural gas corridor country are also likely to be central topics, the source added.

Another talking point will be German-Russian economic relations. German exports to Russia rose sharply in 2017 but concerns over mutually-imposed economic sanctions still linger in the air.

EU states slapped Russia with economic sanctions in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea during the Ukraine crisis. The measures have been repeatedly extended. Russia retaliated with an import ban on groceries.

Altmaier’s trip is also intended to prepare the way for the upcoming meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi set for May 18, the source explained.

Merkel last visited Russia in 2017.

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