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Merkel to congratulate Putin on election victory soon, her spokesman says

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will soon congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on an election victory that extends his rule for another six years, her spokesman said on Monday.
"The chancellor will - as is usual in such cases - congratulate him. She will write a telegram very soon," government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference.He said he thought the telegram would mention the challenges in German-Russian relations.
"We have differences of opinion with Russia and we very clearly criticize Russia's policies on some issues - Ukraine, Syria," he said, but added that it was important to keep up contact with the Russian government and the president.
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