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Now Putin feels the icy blast of Merkel's anger

German leader Angela Merkel took Russian president Vladimir Putin to task over a clampdown on dissent and the treatment of the Pussy Riot punk band in frosty exchanges.

But despite the chill, they signed a host of economic deals underlining the importance of mutual trade which Mr Putin put at ¤56bn in 2011, as well as Germany's dependence on Russia as an energy supplier.


Often looking uncomfortable as they sat together in the Kremlin, Ms Merkel and Mr Putin tried to put on a show of unity. But they could not hide their differences over human rights.

Ms Merkel was blunt in her criticism. She said she had expressed concern about laws that could be used to stifle dissent since Mr Putin returned to the presidency in May.

"I expressed my concern about plans for certain laws," she said.