Germany's Merkel to visit Obama next week

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit the United States and meet with President Obama on Friday, the White House announced.

The discussions will focus on U.S.-German cooperation over the crisis in Ukraine as well as ongoing negotiations over a proposed trans-Atlantic trade deal and broader security issues. 

“The alliance between the United States and Germany is indispensable to meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities of the 21st century,” the White House said in the announcement on Saturday.

“In their meeting, the president and Chancellor Merkel will discuss promoting economic growth, supporting the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, cooperating within NATO, supporting democracy in Europe’s east, and meeting shared security and economic challenges around the globe.”

The visit comes as the U.S., Germany and other members of the Group of 7 countries are increasing pressure on Russia to back down from its involvement in Ukraine.  

On Friday, leaders of the G-7 announced plans for a new round of sanctions against Russia, which could come as soon as Monday.

Obama has been in close coordination with Merkel throughout the process. The two leaders spoke on the phone on Friday, ahead of the new sanctions announcement, and have been in contact repeatedly in recent weeks.

Merkel also recently spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, in a conversation that reportedly centered on gas supplies to Europe.

Tensions ran high between Merkel and Obama last year, after documents from former government contractor Edward Snowden showed that the U.S. had been snooping on Merkel’s phone conversations. The German leader was quick to denounce the news, and ever since has been heavily critical of the U.S.’s surveillance operations.