Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Germany for a visit expected to focus on differences over Cyprus' financial crisis and German concerns about the Kremlin crackdown on civil society groups.

Germany is Russia's No. 3 trade partner, but ties have become increasingly strained recently over the Kremlin's heavy-handed response to the opposition, differences over the Syrian crisis and other irritants.

The Cyprus crisis, which has badly bruised Russian investors, has become the latest irritant, which is certain to figure high on the agenda of Putin's talks Sunday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hannover, where the two leaders will attend a trade fair.