RIO DE JANEIRO German Chancellor Angela Merkel met briefly with Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of the football World Cup final in Brazil on Sunday. Merkel was in Rio de Janeiro to see Germany play Argentina in the final, and Putin was attending because Russia will host the next World Cup in 2018. The two leaders have been in regular telephone contact over the Ukraine crisis, with Merkel urging Putin to use his influence over separatists in eastern Ukraine to help bring about an end to fighting.
They avoided protocol remarks at the start of the meeting and no details of their conversation were made available.
(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Kevin Liffey)