LATEST: Angela Merkel 'not satisfied' over talks with Russia on Ukraine conflict

LATEST: Angela Merkel 'not satisfied' over talks with Russia on Ukraine conflict

UPDATE 3.30pm:German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she is not satisfied with the progress of talks about the situation in eastern Ukraine, after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking after the two met for talks in Sochi, Russia, Mrs Merkel said there are still fundamental differences of opinion, emphasising that Germany believes in the democratic legitimacy of the Ukrainian government.

"We are of differing opinions about the cause of the conflict," she said, but added that the "Normandy Format" meetings of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France is still the best forum for the talks.

She added that all sides want to prevent a further escalation of the conflict and that the Normandy talks had helped.

In her first trip to Russia in two years, the pair also discussed the civil war in Syria, and Mrs Merkel asked Mr Putin to help protect the right of gays in Chechnya following reports that they are persecuted there.

She told reporters after the talks: "I asked President Putin to use his influence to protect these minority rights."

Mrs Merkel said she wanted to "keep trying to find solutions" to global problems and that Moscow has an important role to play.

EARLIER: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has arrived in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin on the unresolved conflict in Ukraine and the civil war in Syria.

Ms Merkel travelled to the Black Sea city of Sochi for a one-day visit, in her first trip to Russia in two years.

The pair last met in Germany in October for talks aimed at reviving the peace process in eastern Ukraine.

The new meeting comes amid tensions over Germany's support for sanctions imposed on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine.

Mr Putin appears eager to improve ties. He told Germany's foreign minister during a recent visit that it is "our common goal to fully normalise relations and to make sure all the difficulties we face are overcome".

Opening the latest talks, he said: "We must use this opportunity to talk about our relations and about more problematic issues, such as Ukraine and Syria and perhaps some other regions."

More in this Section

Lebanese stage massive protest against leaders in rare sign of unityLebanese stage massive protest against leaders in rare sign of unity

Judges to decide if unsigned Brexit letter puts Johnson in contempt of courtJudges to decide if unsigned Brexit letter puts Johnson in contempt of court

Hong Kong descends into chaos again as protesters defy rally banHong Kong descends into chaos again as protesters defy rally ban

Two 17-year-old boys dead after house party stabbing in the UK Two 17-year-old boys dead after house party stabbing in the UK


Lifestyle

'When a role became available in The River Lee following the refurbishment, I jumped at the chance!'You've Been Served: Sinead McDonald of The River Lee on life as a Brand Manager

It’s the personal stories from Bruce Springsteen that turn his new ‘Western Stars’ documentary into something special, the director tells Esther McCarthy.Bruce Springsteen's Western Stars documentary more than just a music film

Apart from the several variations in its spelling in Irish and English, Inishtubbrid, Co Clare is also recognised by three other names: Wall’s Island; O’Grady’s Island and Inishtubber which surely puts it up there as the island with most names — not counting say Inisvickillane, Co Kerry which has about 33 variations to that spelling.The Islands of Ireland: In search of tranquility

More and more communities and volunteers are taking on environmental tasks around the country. In Clonmel, Co Tipperary, for example, people have united to get rid of Himalayan balsam, an invasive plant, from the banks of the River Suir.‘Bashing’ invasive plants

More From The Irish Examiner