Putin attends wedding of Austrian foreign minister

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Yet, while Putin dangled the vista of humanitarian aid paving the way for some Syrian refugees to return home, German officials say that is unrealistic for now.

"I want to stress here that Nord Stream 2 is only an economic project and it does not close the door to the continuation of gas transit through the territory of Ukraine", he said.

The German chancellor also said she would raise human rights issues and bilateral relations.

"Together with German partners we are working on the new natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, which will complete the European gas transport system, minimize the transit risks, and secure the growing consumption in Europe", a joint press statement from Putin said ahead of the meeting.

The United States is pressing Berlin to halt the pipeline that will carry gas from Russian Federation under the Baltic Sea, arguing it will increase Germany's dependence on Russian Federation for energy. They will take no questions.

As part of the operation "Atlantic Resolve" of the US in support of NATO in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine, US military vehicles make their way on an army training camp near Brueck, northeastern Germany, January 11, 2017.

"I am of the opinion that controversial issues can only be addressed in dialog and through dialog", she said.

But Merkel has maintained that the Nord Stream project is an economic, not political matter for Germany.

Both Germany and Russian Federation have expressed a desire to maintain the agreement with Iran to limit its nuclear program in return for easing some economic sanctions.

Putin also spoke about worldwide reconstruction efforts and the humanitarian situation in Syria. U.S. President Donald Trump exited the deal in May.

Austrian lawmaker Joerg Leichtfried of the opposition Social Democratic Party also slammed Kneissl's decision to invite Putin to the wedding.

Putin attended the wedding before heading off to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later on Saturday.

Russian Federation and Germany are partners in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a project criticised by US President Donald Trump due to Berlin's reliance on Moscow.

Russian Federation and the West remain locked in dispute over Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and the conflict between Kyiv and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. "Although we must state that there is still no stable ceasefire", she said. Merkel grew up under communism in East Germany, as Putin did in the Soviet Union; she speaks Russian and he speaks German after living in East Germany as a KGB agent during the Soviet era.

While Merkel was cautious about the likelihood of making progress on longstanding disputes, others in her new governing coalition seemed more hopeful.

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