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    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with representatives of international news agencies in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Putin Says He Believes Russia, Europe 'Should Be Together'

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is ready for unity with Europe.

    ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) — Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl considered that Russia and Europe should be together, and Moscow is ready for such a unity, so Europe should aspire to that, Putin said Saturday.

    "If we want to keep our civilization in this turbulent and rapidly changing world with growing centers of power — not only military power, but also economic and cultural — then, of course, Europe and Russia should be together," Putin said, citing Kohl's ideas.

    Putin said that he totally agreed with the ex-chancellor.

    "You know our position, which is that we are ready for this. We need our partners to be ready for that as well, they should get rid of phobias of the past," the Russian president said, adding that Kohl was also calling for Europe to do so and look at the future.

    Kohl passed away on Friday at the age of 87 in his hometown of Ludwigshafen in western Germany. He served as the head of German state from 1982 to 1998, overseeing the reunification of West and East Germany and the creation of the European Union, including the replacement of the deutschmark with the euro. He was the longest serving German chancellor since Otto von Bismarck.

    In 1989 after the fall of the Berlin Wall Kohl proposed to reunite Germany. The reunification occurred in October 1990. On December 2, 1990 the coalition he led secured the majority of seats in the Bundestag during the first nationwide elections since 1933. Kohl became the first chancellor of the reunited Germany.

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    Helmut Kohl, Vladimir Putin, Europe, Russia
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