The Ukrainian government has taken the bold step to halt all trade with pro-Russian separatists in the east. Supporters of the ban say it will starve funding to the rebel's armed forces, but it's a gamble that may well backfire.
The two leaders discussed Syria, the conflict in Ukraine, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and the Iran nuclear deal. Merkel was critical on press and cultural freedom as well as a ceasefire breach in Ukraine.
Somalia is losing trees at an alarming rate to an illicit charcoal trade that partly bankrolls its Islamist insurgency. Charcoal producers and traders who violate a UN ban say their livelihoods are at stake.
Even if it falls apart, a planned Russian-German gas pipeline has already succeeded in one Kremlin objective: sowing discord in the West. But some believe commercial concerns will win out and the pipeline will go ahead.
Conditions in Gaza are unlivable, the UN's deputy special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Jamie McGoldrick, tells DW. More Palestinian protests are expected, fueled by a desperate humanitarian situation.
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