Russian President Putin Steals The Show At Austrian Minister's Wedding

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Russian President Vladimir Putin brought singing Cossacks, controversy and his dancing shoes to the wedding of the Austrian foreign minister Saturday.

While officials from both countries played down the significance of the invitation to Putin, it comes after Trump last month slammed Germany as "totally controlled by Russia" because of its dependence on Moscow for natural gas supplies.

He said Putin's attendance would be great publicity for the country: "A better advertisement for Austria, its wonderful nature, dreamlike landscape and real life hospitality can not exist!"

He also pointed out that the media had paid a lot of attention to Putin's private visit to Austria, where he attended the weeding of the country's Foreign Minister Kneissl and businessman Wolfgang Meilinger.

"It was a nice trip", Putin said ahead of the talks with Merkel.

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"I remind you that there are a million refugees in Jordan and a million in Lebanon", Putin told reporters alongside Merkel on Saturday before they met for about three hours at a chateau north of Berlin.

"All the more symbolic and harmful to court the Russian president in this manner", he said. Austria now holds the European Union's rotating presidency.

Peskov also said the two agreed to continue the four-party dialogue involving Russia, Germany, France, and Turkey in efforts to end the civil war in Syria.

The United States and some European countries have criticized the pipeline, saying it could increase Europe's energy dependence on Russian Federation, harm Ukraine - now a major gas transit country - and pose an environmental risk.

"Nord Stream 2 is a purely economic project", Putin said, adding that the Ukrainian transit route should be economically viable.

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Russian Federation and Germany are partners in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a project criticised by US President Donald Trump due to Berlin's reliance on Moscow.

Putin travelled to Germany later on Saturday to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks about Syria, Ukraine, and energy matters.

The worldwide coverage of Putin's visit would bring priceless publicity, he added.

The United States is against the pipeline and claims it will increase Germany's dependence on Russian Federation for energy.

Turkey on Wednesday doubled tariffs on several USA goods, including alcohol and tobacco products and cars, after Trump increased US tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

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Ms Kneissl is an independent but was selected for the post by Austria's far-Right Freedom Party, which is a partner in the government.

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