Merkel came to Sochi at the start of May to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin – which at the time was her first visit to the country since 2014. Less than a week later, US President Donald Trump announced that he would be withdrawing his country from the Iran nuclear deal, of which Russia and Germany are both signatories. The decision has infuriated Europe, with Merkel going so far as to suggest that Europe can no longer rely upon the United States to ensure its security and maintain international norms.
With Merkel trekking out to Sochi for the second time this month, it appears that Europe, increasingly disillusioned Washington, will seek closer cooperation with Moscow in hopes of salvaging the Iran deal and making headway on a number of other critical international issues.
German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle has even commented ahead of the summit that “a rapprochement between Germany and Russia could be an unexpected consequence of Trump’s decision to abandon the nuclear deal with Iran.”
Will recent developments lead to a new breakthrough in German (and European) cooperation with Russia? Where will Putin and Merkel see eye-to-eye, and what issues are still causing friction between the two leaders?