Commenting on the choice of topics for the discussion between the two leaders, Vladimir Shapovalov, Deputy Director of the Center for Historical and Political Studies at the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute told Radio Sputnik that it is quite "telling."
"The choice of these two countries [for discussion] actually fits into the foreign policy model of President Trump on the rationalization of US activities and shifting the responsibility to its allies," he told Sputnik.
Afghanistan, he explained, remains a long-standing issue not only for the US, but for Germany. The US, he said, wants Germany, as a key European country and one of the key NATO member states, to play a more active role in the conflict alongside the US. Washington wants it to assume more responsibility not only for the budget of the alliance but for all the "hot spots" where NATO forces are taking part.
"Both Europe and the US have definitely become tired of Ukraine. Not only military activities in the country but its intensifying political crisis remain a serious problem for Europe and the US. The conversation between Trump and Merkel reveals the weariness of the US and its desire to distance itself from the Ukrainian issue. [They] oblige Germany and Europe to deal with it," he told Sputnik.
Shapovalov also suggested that the so-called Normandy Format, also known as the Normandy contact group, a diplomatic group of senior representatives from four countries (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France) to resolve the situation in the East of Ukraine will stay unchanged and it is highly unlikely that the US will join in.