The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has been welcomed to Berlin by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, his first official visit to Western Europe. Observers say all eyes will be on the trip for clues as to how the new leader will deal with future ties with his European Union neighbours.
It is understood Medvedev will hold talks on economic and energy issues. But thorny subjects such as Kosovo’s independence and US plans for an anti-missile defence shield in Europe are also likely to come up. In the past Merkel has often taken a tough line with Moscow over human rights and freedom of expression.
Germany is one of Russia’s leading trading partners, and both countries are building a pipeline under the Baltic sea to deliver Siberian gas to Europe.