German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives to Russia today in her final visit before stepping down as leader.
Merkel’s trip to Moscow comes exactly a year after a nerve-agent attack on the now-jailed Alexei Navalny, whose life was saved by Berlin doctors.
During the visit, Merkel asked her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to free Alexei Navalny from prison.
“I demanded from the Russian President that he free Navalny,” Angela Merkel said after talks with Putin.
However, Putin denied that Navalny was behind bars for his political activity.
Earlier, the German chancellor said it was important for Berlin to continue engaging with Moscow, despite “deep differences” on a range of issues.
Afghanistan a key issue for Germany and Russia
Despite their many political differences, the two longtime leaders managed to hold up a line of communication.
Putin said developments in the country were also a high priority. The movement of the Taliban was spoken about and Putin said: “The country of Afghanistan must not crumble fully.”
Merkel spoke about efforts to get people to safety. She said there was willingness to work with the Taliban on humanitarian grounds.
“I have given information that we in Germany consider it most important to evacuate people who have worked for over 20 years for us.”
Merkel pointed out that those citizens of Afghanistan should receive a place to stay in Germany.
“I have asked also the Russian side to tell the Taliban that we would like to work with the Taliban regarding humanitarian situations. We need those people who have helped us can get an opportunity to leave the country.”
Merkel’s Last Trip
Merkel’s Russia visit is her last trips abroad as Chancellor. The 67-year-old does not run for office again in next month’s national election.
German chancellor will soon step down after 16 years in office.