Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she saw no way to influence Russian President Vladimir Putin by the end of her term.
In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, Merkel recounted her latest encounters with Putin, saying that during her farewell visit to Moscow in August 2021, she felt “in terms of power politics, you are done”, adding that “for Putin, only the ability counts.”
She cited the fact that Putin brought Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to this latest visit as another sign of her crumbling power, as they previously met “often in private,” she said.
Merkel also said the conflict in Ukraine “came as no surprise” as she said that by 2021 the Minsk accord, signed in 2015 to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, had been “eroded”.
According to Merkel, in the summer of 2021 she unsuccessfully tried to set up “an independent European discussion format with Putin” together with French President Emmanuel Macron, but she also realized that she no longer had the clout to assert herself in the European Council. approaching the end of her term of office.
Merkel also defended herself by saying that together with then US President Barack Obama, we “tried everything after the annexation of Crimea by Russia. [in 2014] to prevent further Russian incursions into Ukraine and coordinate our sanctions in detail.”
The comments come shortly after she was publicly criticized by former Bundestag president and CDU party colleague Wolfgang Schäuble for not acknowledging mistakes in her Russia policy over the past 16 years.
Germany’s dependence on Russian gas supplies grew continuously under Merkel’s leadership in the years leading up to Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.