Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she no longer sees any possibility of influencing Russian President Vladimir Putin towards the end of his term.
In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, Merkel spoke about her last encounters with Putin, saying that throughout her farewell visit to Moscow in August 2021, she felt “in terms of power politics, you’re done,” adding that “for Putin, only power matters.
She cited the fact that Putin brought Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on this last visit as another sign of his power collapsing, as previously they met “often in private”, she said. declared.
Merkel also said that the conflict in Ukraine “was not a surprise”, as she said that in 2021 the Minsk agreement, reached in 2015 aimed at ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine , was empty”.
According to Merkel, she tried unsuccessfully to set up “an independent European discussion format with Putin” in the summer of 2021 with French President Emmanuel Macron, but realized that she also no longer had the weight to assert itself in the European Council, with the end of its mandate looming.
Merkel also defended herself, saying that together with then-US President Barack Obama, “we tried everything after Russia annexed Crimea. [in 2014] to prevent further Russian incursions into Ukraine and coordinated our sanctions in detail.
The remarks come shortly after she was publicly criticized by former Bundestag speaker and CDU party colleague Wolfgang Schäuble for failing to acknowledge the mistakes of her Russian policy over the past 16 years.
Germany’s reliance on Russian gas supplies grew steadily under Merkel’s leadership in the years before Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.