Putin likely to meet Merkel at World Cup final: Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks set to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel amid tensions over Ukraine when both leaders attend the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro, the Kremlin said Thursday.
Presidential advisor Yury Ushakov said the meeting had not been finalised but Putin was due to have a series of bilateral encounters with world leaders at the match on Sunday and that a tete-a-tete with Merkel appeared to be on the cards.
"The list is not yet finalised but I presume... Germany will be at the final and several other countries," Ushakov said in remarks released Thursday.
Putin will be in Brazil as part of a larger Latin American tour and will take part in an official handover ceremony with Russia due to host the next World Cup in 2018.
Merkel is to be at the Maracana stadium cheering on the German team after they thrashed hosts Brazil 7:1 in the semi finals.
Any meeting would likely be a frosty affair coming against the backdrop of the worst Russia-West standoff since the Cold War over the conflict in Ukraine where clashes between government forces and pro-Moscow separatists have claimed some 500 lives.
Putin will start a six-day Latin America tour on Friday that will also see him meet Fidel Castro in Cuba and visit Argentina, as the Kremlin strongman seeks to shore up support for his policies amid the showdown with the West.
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