Putin dances with the bride at Austrain Foreign Minister's wedding

Russian President Vladimir Putin

President Trump has warned it would make Germany dependant on Russian gas.

Speaking hours later alongside Merkel before the two leaders held bilateral talks at the German government's guesthouse in Meseberg, north of Berlin, Putin said they would discuss bilateral ties, economic co-operation and Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea.

Germany is facing pressure from the United States to halt work on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project which will transport gas from Russian Federation.

Putin noted that Germany is not only a market for the supply of hydrocarbons from Russian Federation, but also an important link in their transit to other European countries. The two leaders took no questions.

Karin Kneissl was all smiles as she danced with the strongman in a vineyard in Austria's southern Styria province - though critics anxious her invitation to Putin undermined the West's tough-guy approach with Moscow.

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

Its construction is being funded by Russian state-owned giant Gazprom and a group of major European energy firms who say the project will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by providing cleaner fuel to Europe.

"We must acknowledge that we do not have a permanent ceasefire", the chancellor said.

Gary Lineker reacts to Chelsea FC’s 3-2 win over Arsenal
This is always the way, but it is clear that defensively we suffered three goals but also we had chances to do more goals. I chose to change because, in the middle, we needed a bit more to push and not let Chelsea progress easily with the ball.

Merkel made clear that Ukraine should not be cut out: "Ukraine must, in my opinion, play a role in the transit of gas to Europe", even after the start of Nord Stream 2 in 2019.

Putin also spoke about global reconstruction efforts and the humanitarian situation in Syria.

Russian Federation and the West remain locked in dispute over Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and the conflict between Kyiv and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Austrian opposition politicians had criticised the invitation to Putin saying it undermined Austria's claim to be an "honest broker" between Europe and Russian Federation, with the Green party calling for Kneissl's resignation.

On Syria, Germany wants Putin to finalize a lasting cease-fire there in agreement with the United States.

Chancellor Merkel said it was important to avert a humanitarian crisis in Idlib, Syria and the surrounding region.

"We can be cautiously optimistic", Juergen Hardt, foreign policy spokesman for Merkel's conservative bloc, told the Stuttgarter Zeitung and Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspapers in an interview published on August 18. "For that he has to move", he said.

"By that, I mean above all humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, and help the regions where refugees living overseas can return to".

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