Published: Sat, August 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Warm Embraces As Vladmir Putin Dances At Austrian Minister's Wedding

Warm Embraces As Vladmir Putin Dances At Austrian Minister's Wedding

But she was appointed to her job by the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) which has a cooperation agreement with Mr Putin's United Russia party.

Mr Putin and the bride, dressed in traditional Austrian costume, appeared to share a joke as they made their way round the dancefloor.

The Russian president was accompanied by a band of Cossack singers who performed for the wedding guests.

Joerg Leichtfried of the opposition Social Democrats said Kneissl's decision to invite Putin was especially lamentable given that Austria now holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

The two sides have sparred in recent years over Russia's annexation of Crimea, its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as he executes a brutal military campaign, over charges that Moscow interfered in the last USA presidential election, and, most recently, over British allegations that the Kremlin tried to kill former spy Sergei Skripal, who now lives in the UK.

Peskov said Putin said "quite a long toast in German in which he said he was thankful and happy that he got a chance to visit the hospitable Austria".

Putin's meeting with Merkel late Saturday takes place at the German government's guesthouse in Meseberg, north of Berlin.

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The United States and some European countries have criticized the pipeline, saying it could increase Europe's energy dependence on Russian Federation, harm Ukraine - now a major gas transit country - and pose an environmental risk.

The multi-billion pound Nord Stream 2 will run through the Baltic Sea and supply gas to Germany and the EU.

'Nord Steam 2 is purely an economic project and it doesn't close the door to shipping gas through Ukraine, ' President Putin said. Transit fees for Russian gas are an important item contributing to the Ukrainian budget.

The Russian President and German Chancellor looked like old pals as they sipped white wine and rosé at a picnic table as the sun beat down.

Its construction is being funded by Russian state-owned giant Gazprom and a group of major European energy firms who say the project will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by providing cleaner fuel to Europe. I think it's in everyone's interests, including Europe's, ' he said.

Merkel has encountered political pressure at home for opening Germany's borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees in 2015.

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