Europe

The Latest: Putin to discuss Ukraine, Syria with Merkel

The Latest on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (all times local):

2:40 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he hopes they will discuss the unresolved conflict in eastern Ukraine and the civil war in Syria.

Putin has welcomed Merkel to his residence in the Black Sea city of Sochi. It's Merkel's first visit to Russia in two years.

In opening the talks, Putin said: "We must use this opportunity to talk about our relations and about more problematic issues, such as Ukraine and Syria and perhaps some other regions."

Tuesday's meeting comes amid tensions over Germany's support for the sanctions imposed on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine.

Putin, however, appears eager to improve ties.

___

2:15 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has arrived in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin expected to focus on the unresolved conflict in Ukraine and the civil war in Syria.

Merkel traveled to the Black Sea city of Sochi on Tuesday for a one-day visit. It is her first trip to Russia in two years.

Putin and Merkel last met in Germany in October for talks aimed at reviving the peace process in eastern Ukraine.

Tuesday's meeting comes amid tensions over Germany's support for the sanctions imposed on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine.

Putin, however, appears eager to improve ties. He told Germany's foreign minister during a recent visit that it is "our common goal to fully normalize relations and to make sure all the difficulties we face are overcome."