Russian President Putin and German Chancellor Schroeder attend a signing ceremony in Berlin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (back L) and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (back R) attend a signing ceremony in Berlin September 8, 2005. The officials at the front row signing the contract are: Wulf Bernotat of German EON AG, Alexei Miller of Russia's Gazprom and Juergen Hambrecht of German BASF (R-L). The leaders of Russia and Germany gave their blessing on Thursday to a gas pipeline deal that cements Berlin's energy ties to Moscow but which Poland and others fear leaves them vulnerable to the whims of the Kremlin. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann AKW/CVI