Annual Germany-Russia forum canceled as relations cool over Ukraine conflict



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BERLIN — An annual meeting meant to foster dialogue between Germany and Russia has been postponed indefinitely amid tension between the two countries over the conflict in Ukraine.

Organizers of the St. Petersburg Dialogue said Monday that this year's event, due to take place in Sochi, Russia, at the end of October, has been called off.

They cited the "generally difficult relationship between Russia and the West" that would have overshadowed the meeting.

The forum brings together leaders from business, civil society and politics, and is usually attended by the German chancellor and the Russian president.

It was initiated in 2001 by Russian President Vladimir Putin and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Like many western countries, Germany has criticized Moscow for supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, a claim Moscow denies.

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