Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel Defends Her Personal Record on Russian President Vladimir Putin

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel on June 7 has defended her record of handling Russian President Vladimir Putin during her time in power.

In her first major interview since Russia invaded Ukraine, Merkel defended the sanctions she imposed on Russia in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and Germany’s role in maintaining the Minsk peace process.

Merkel argued that the Minsk peace process, which was meant to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine from 2014 to 2015, gave Ukraine time to develop as a nation and strengthen its military and democracy.

“I don’t have to blame myself for not trying hard enough. I don’t see that I have to say, ‘That was wrong.’ And that’s why I have nothing to apologize for,” Merkel said, as quoted by BBC News.

Merkel also defended her opposition to Ukraine joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2008, arguing that Ukraine was not ready and that Putin would have viewed it as a “declaration of war.”

“You cannot become a member of NATO from one day to the next. It’s a process, and during this process, I knew Putin would have done something to Ukraine that would not have been good for it,” Merkel said, according to The Guardian.

Merkel also described the Russian invasion of Ukraine as “not just unacceptable but also a major mistake by Russia.”

Merkel added that there was “no justification” for the war that “breached all agreements in international law,” according to The Irish Times.

The onstage interview at the Berliner Ensemble theater with German journalist Alexander Osang is Merkel’s first public appearance since she left office six months ago.


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