The Winter Olympics are set to begin in Sochi with what is expected to be a spectacular opening ceremony. These will be the first Olympics to be held in Russia since the widely boycotted Moscow summer games of 1980.
Vladimir Putin is meeting Merkel outside Berlin on Saturday to discuss Syria, Ukraine and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Angela Merkel. But what can the two seasoned leaders hope to say that they haven't said before?
Chancellor Angela Merkel has received Russian President Vladimir Putin on his first bilateral visit to Germany since 2014. Their agenda listed Ukraine, Syria and piped gas for Europe but she dampened expectations.
The German chancellor's return to work has come with a number of foreign policy challenges. Migration has dominated her agenda of late, while disagreements over Ukraine and Syria continue to fuel tension with Russia.
Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov has been on hunger strike in a Russian jail for more than three months. Now the Kremlin has rejected his mother's request for clemency, and said Sentsov should request the pardon himself.
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