MOSCOW, December 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone with Angela Merkel on Thursday in the wake of the end of her tenure as German Chancellor.
"Vladimir Putin expressed his warm thanks to Angela Merkel for long-standing fruitful cooperation, stressing her significant contribution to the development of Russian-German relations," the Kremlin press service noted.
In turn, Merkel expressed gratitude to Putin for joint work and wished him success in establishing a dialogue with the new head of the German government, Olaf Scholz. Putin added that Merkel is always welcome in Russia.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a telegram to Angela Merkel where he shifted to first-name terms and assured the resumption of friendly communication. The Russian head of state recalled that he and Merkel "were constantly in contact and tried to find ways out of even the most difficult situations."
The last time Putin and Merkel met in person was on August 20 during her "farewell visit" to Moscow. It was their first face-to-face meeting since the onset of the pandemic. Nonetheless, the leaders spoke on the phone on a regular basis. According to the Kremlin’s website, the last conversation between Putin and Merkel took place in November when the migration crisis on the Belarusian-EU border was on the agenda.
In total, since 2005, when Merkel headed the German government, she and Putin have had about 30 meetings during mutual visits or as part of international events (the former German Chancellor met with Dmitry Medvedev a further 20 times when he was the Russian president in 2009-2012).