German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the Hanover trade fair on Sunday evening, reflecting the countries' strong trade relations despite political tensions.
German energy expert Roland Götz believes the controversial gas pipeline will come into operation in 2019. But Russia's Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz first need to reach a gas transit deal, he says.
The former German chancellor unveiled his top three picks to succeed Merkel. The interview is likely to unsettle his Social Democrats as one notable person didn't make Schröder's shortlist — the current head of the SPD.
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.
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.
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