"We actually want to congratulate the Russian scientists who designed, developed and produced the vaccine, which really was a surprise to the international community. Sputnik V has pioneered vaccines against the coronavirus. So this is the area we can rely on for cooperation," Altmaier said in his address to the conference, hosted by the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce.
"Politically, it is a hard period in our relations … Despite that, Germany and the Association of Commerce Chambers are still showing a lot of interest in economic development of ties with Russia. That is the reason we maintain the dialogue in the area of arms control, Iran, Iraq, climate change and the pandemic," Altmaier added.
Germany’s stance on Nord Stream 2, the joint energy project with Russia, has remained unchanged as it wants the project to reach completion, according to the minister.
"As far as Nord Stream 2 position, that I have, has not changed it would be not right to continually challenge the completion of the construction of the Nord Stream. As for the transit of gas through Ukraine, we have managed to arrive at a very good trilateral agreement," Altmaier underlined.
Nord Stream 2 is a massive offshore pipeline designed to pump Russian gas to Germany across the Baltic Sea. For a long time, the United States has criticised the project and threatened its participants with sanctions, for example, by sanctioning companies which work on the pipeline's construction.