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Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands prior to their talks at Putin's residence in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, May 2, 2017. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has arrived in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin expected to focus on the unresolved conflict in Ukraine and the civil war in Syria. (Yuri Kochetkov/ Pool photo via AP)
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The Latest: Merkel: Disinformation won’t hurt German vote

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands prior to their talks at Putin's residence in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, May 2, 2017. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has arrived in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin expected to focus on the unresolved conflict in Ukraine and the civil war in Syria. (Yuri Kochetkov/ Pool photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she’s confident that Germany can weather any disinformation campaign targeting the federal election in September.

During a news conference in Russia alongside President Vladimir Putin, Merkel was asked about the threat and she cited examples of “gross misinformation.”

Russian media and the foreign minister claimed that a 13-year-old girl of Russian origin had been kidnapped and raped by asylum-seekers in Berlin, and that German authorities were covering it up. Police later determined the girl had made up the kidnapping, though a man in his 20s was charged with sexual abuse of a minor because she was below the age of consent.

Merkel said Germany would take “decisive measures” if it believed there was foreign meddling in the election, adding it was well-known that “hybrid warfare plays a role in Russia’s military doctrine.”

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4:55 p.m.

President Vladimir Putin has denied that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Speaking during a joint news conference Tuesday with Germany’s leader, Putin said such accusations are “simply rumors” that are being used as part of the domestic political struggle in the United States.

U.S. intelligence agencies say they have evidence that Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic email accounts, which were intended to benefit Donald Trump and harm his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Putin also denied interfering in European elections.

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4:45 p.m.

Chancellor Angela Merkel says she’s not satisfied with the work of the “Normandy Format” meetings of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France, but that it was still the best forum for talks about the situation in the east of Ukraine.

Speaking at the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin after the two met for talks in Sochi, Merkel said there are still fundamental differences of opinion, emphasizing that Germany believes in the democratic legitimacy of the Ukrainian government.

“We are of differing opinions about the cause of the conflict,” she said.

But she added that all sides wanted to prevent a further escalation of the conflict and that the Normandy talks had helped in that regard.

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4:20 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to help protect the right of gays in Chechnya following reports they are persecuted there.

Merkel said she had constructive talks Tuesday with Putin in the Russian resort of Sochi, which touched on a wide range of topics including Syria, Ukraine and human rights.

She told reporters after the talks: “I asked President Putin to use his influence to protect these minority rights.”

Merkel said she wanted to “keep trying to find solutions” to global problems and that Russia has an important role to play.

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2:40 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he hopes they will discuss the unresolved conflict in eastern Ukraine and the civil war in Syria.

Putin has welcomed Merkel to his residence in the Black Sea city of Sochi. It’s Merkel’s first visit to Russia in two years.

In opening the talks, Putin said: “We must use this opportunity to talk about our relations and about more problematic issues, such as Ukraine and Syria and perhaps some other regions.”

Tuesday’s meeting comes amid tensions over Germany’s support for the sanctions imposed on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine.

Putin, however, appears eager to improve ties.

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2:15 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has arrived in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin expected to focus on the unresolved conflict in Ukraine and the civil war in Syria.

Merkel traveled to the Black Sea city of Sochi on Tuesday for a one-day visit. It is her first trip to Russia in two years.

Putin and Merkel last met in Germany in October for talks aimed at reviving the peace process in eastern Ukraine.

Tuesday’s meeting comes amid tensions over Germany’s support for the sanctions imposed on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine.

Putin, however, appears eager to improve ties. He told Germany’s foreign minister during a recent visit that it is “our common goal to fully normalize relations and to make sure all the difficulties we face are overcome.”

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