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Putin & Merkel meet in Berlin to discuss Nord Stream 2 pipeline ( VIDEO)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have met in Berlin to discuss the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which Trump has called a “horrible mistake.”

Speaking during a joint press conference with Merkel ahead of the meeting, Putin stressed that the project is "purely economical" and does not mean the transit of gas through Ukraine will end.

The meeting is likely to spark anger from the Trump administration, after the US president said it was a “tragedy” that Germany had agreed to the pipeline deal with Russia.

EU officials, including European Council President Donald Tusk, have expressed concern that the completion of the Nord Stream 2 project would lead to Ukraine missing out on €2.5 billion (€10.8 billion) in annual transit fees that Ukraine receives from the current pipeline.

Trump, meanwhile, has called the pipeline partnership a "big mistake," claiming it equates to Germany being a "captive" of Moscow.

The US president has instead pushed American liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a suitable alternative to Russian gas, saying during his last tour of Europe that locals would soon be buying “vast amounts” of US-produced LNG.

The $11-billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline project aims to double the existing pipelines current annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters. It is expected to become operational by the end of next year, with both Germany and Russia insisting that the project is a private business affair.

Putin and Merkel have also talked about other issues, including Syria and Ukraine.

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