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Putin having tete-a-tete meeting with Merkel ahead of Normandy Quartet summit

His previous meeting with the German Chancellor took place on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty summit in Osaka in later June

PARIS, December 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has on Monday arrived in Paris to take part in a Normandy Quartet (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine) summit on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, is currently holding a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The meeting is being held behind at the Elysee Palace closed doors.

Concurrently, French President Emmanuel Macron is meeting with Ukrainian leader, Vladimir Zelensky, at his residence.

The sides opted not to disclose possible topics to be discussed at the meeting. The German government only said that the leaders had "a wide spectrum of topics" for discussion. The meeting is held after the expulsion of two Russian diplomats in early December due to insufficient, according to the German side, cooperation of the Russian authorities in the probe into the murder of a Georgian citizen in Germany this summer. According to the German chancellor, this case would not impact the Normandy Four summit as it was a matter of the German-Russian bilateral relations.

Putin’s previous meeting with Merkel took place on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty summit in Osaka in later June.

As for bilateral trade and economic ties, Russian-German trade decreased in January-September 2019 by 12.9% on the same period last year and amounted to 38.5 billion US dollars, as follows from the Kremlin press service release. Russian exports to Germany went down by 18.3%, to 20.5 billion US dollars and imports from Germany decreased by 5.8%, to 18 billion US dollars. In 2018, Russian-German trade stood at 59.6 billion US dollars, or by 20% up on 2017, as follows from the Russian Customs Service’s statistics.