For Merkel, the Kremlin made a “catastrophic mistake” with the invasion of Ukraine, “a brutal attack, which violates international law and has no excuse”. The former chancellor says it was necessary to try the diplomatic route with Moscow and says she has a clear conscience.
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine due to her proximity to Moscow, assured this Tuesday that she does not blame herself, but stressed that she already knew at the time that Putin “wanted to destroy Europe”. In her first public appearance since leaving office six months ago, the former ruler explained that, for example, in the summer of 2021, she failed to carry out a European initiative to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin back to the table. negotiations.
However, when looking back, Angela Merkel refers to a certain “tranquility” knowing that she did her best to avoid the current situation and that she has complete confidence in the management of her successor, Olaf Scholz.
On accusations that she was naive in believing that Russia could change through trade relations with the West, Merkel stressed that she never had “illusions”, but that she could not act as if a neighboring country “did not exist”.
The former chancellor, who was speaking during a lecture in Berlin, organized by Editora Aufbau, stressed that she already knew at the time that Putin “wanted to destroy Europe” but that before entering into open conflict it was necessary to “try everything diplomatically”. Merkel summed up her policy towards the Kremlin (Russian presidency) as trying to “find a ‘modus vivendi’ [way of living] where one is not at war and tries to coexist despite differences”.
For the former head of the German government, US sanctions on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline caused her “annoyance”, considering that it was something that was “done with a country like Iran, but not with an ally”, but praised President Joe Biden’s initiative to ‘bury’ the issue in 2021.
Angela Merkel also defended the decision of the Bucharest summit in 2008 not to grant Ukraine the status of candidate country for NATO membership, which at the time was not a “democratically firm” country and was “dominated by oligarchs”. The German policy added that, from Putin’s point of view, it would also have been a “declaration of war” to which he would have reacted by causing great damage to Kiev, in line with his policy of intervening in countries around Russia that were trying to turn to the West.
The Christian Democrat also recalled her face-to-face meetings with Putin and recalled that, at a meeting in 2007, in Sochi, the Russian head of state assured her that, for him, the fall of the Soviet Union was the worst event of the 20th century, while for her, born in East Germany, it was “luck” that granted her “freedom”. “It was clear that there was a great deal of dissent, which was getting worse. In all these years it was not possible to end the Cold War”, she shot.
For Merkel, the Kremlin made a “catastrophic mistake” with the invasion of Ukraine, “a brutal attack, which violates international law and has no excuse”. But he asked that Russian culture not be summarily condemned, but that each work or artist be judged separately, as not all of them align with Putin.
About her personal life, after 16 years in power, Angela Merkel maintained that staying longer in government would have been an “anachronism” and that it is a “beautiful feeling” to have left of her own accord.
Despite dedicating the last few months to exercising and reading “fat books”, the former chancellor confesses that she expected her retirement to be “different” and not marked by the “scar” of the war.
Source: With Agencies