Siemens Germany CEO Holds Meeting With Russian President Putin Over Sanctions

Siemens Germany CEO Joe Kaeser met with Russian
President Vladimir Putin this week, and told Putin that Siemens is still in a “trusting
relationship” with Russian companies, despite sanctions relating to the crisis
in Crimea.

Siemens has a number of business contracts in Russia,
including providing high-speed trains for the Russian Railways.  Vladimir Yakunin is the head of Russian
Railways, and one of the individuals the United States has levied sanctions
against personally as a result of the Russian annexation of Crimea.

“We support a trusting relationship with Russian
companies,” Kaeser told a group of journalists as they waited for him
outside of Putin’s residence.

Later, Putin appeared on German television to
expand on his meeting with Putin, saying, “We have mastered a range of
challenges successfully. Therefore I believe it is good to stay in dialogue and
to talk about the things that are in the way and to find solutions
together.”  Kaeser added that
Siemens has a number of long-standing business contracts with Russian
companies, and he wants to honor them while not paying too much attention to
what he calls “short term turbulences” in business planning.

Siemens has invested more than 800 million Euros
(more than $1 billion dollars) in the Russian contracts. Among other things,
Siemens provides high-speed trains for lines between Moscow, St. Petersburg and
Nizhny Novgorod.

German chancellor Angela Merkel knew about
Kaeser’s visit in advance, and pointed out that specific Russian companies are
not part of the economic sanctions. She added that business contracts are still
in place.  Merkel added that she would
expect German businesses to comply with potential future economic sanctions,
but as for now, “There can only be reliability if contracts and international
treaties are adhered to,” Merkel said.  

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