Merkel to visit Russia for talks with Putin as gas prices in Europe continue to soar

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is leaving office after 16 years in power, will make her last visit to Moscow.

On August 20, Merkel will arrive in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin, reports Deutsche Welle, citing the German government’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert.

Seibert did not specify the program of the visit, the first for Merkel in a year and a half, adding that after Moscow, the Chancellor will go to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Kremlin’s press service  confirmed the upcoming meeting between Putin and Merkel.

"It is planned to discuss the state and prospects for the development of bilateral cooperation in various fields, as well as a number of international and regional issues," the Kremlin said.

Merkel's visit will take place amid a sharp rise in gas prices in Europe, which have reached 200% since the beginning of the year.

Gas futures on the London ICE exchange, pegged to spot quotes of the Dutch hub TTF, are traded at about $ 560 per thousand cubic meters, although at the beginning of the year the price was $190.

Gas is rapidly becoming more expensive because of falling LNG imports and a sharp reduction in supplies by Russia's gas giant Gazprom, which refuses to book additional transit capacity through Ukraine.

The Yamal-Europe pipeline, which is used to deliver gas from Western Siberia through Belarus and Poland to Germany, operates at only a quarter of the capacity after an accident at the Gazprom plant in Urengoy.

Coal prices have also started to rise rapidly in Europe. For the first time in 9 years, futures for the next month exceeded $100 per ton following a sharp increase in shipping prices by exporters from Australia and China.

Since the beginning of the year, coal in the EU has become almost 1.5 times more expensive.

If LNG suppliers do not increase supplies to the European market, or Gazprom does not suddenly change its strategy, and start using the Ukrainian transit system to the maximum, then low gas prices in Europe should not be expected, at least until the end of the year.

  Merkel, Russia, Germany