Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the target of criticism since the beginning of the war in Ukraine for her policy towards Russia, said this Tuesday (7) that she has no regrets, although many times ask yourself if “the tragedy could have been avoided”.
In her first public appearance since leaving office six months ago, the former chancellor explained that, for example, in 2021 failed to carry out a European initiative to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin back to the dialogue table.
However, looking back, he said he felt “peaceful” knowing that did his best to avoid the current situation and that he has complete confidence in the management of his successor, Olaf Scholz, as he highlighted in a lecture in Berlin organized by the publishing house Aufbau.
In relation to the accusations that he was naive in believing that Russia could change through trade relations with the West, Merkel declared that she never had “illusions” but could not act. r as if a neighboring country “did not exist”.
The former chancellor stressed that she already knew then that Putin “wanted to destroy Europe”, but that before entering into open conflict it was necessary to “try everything diplomatically”.
In this sense, he summarized his policy towards the Kremlin as “finding a modus vivendi where we are not at war, but try to coexist despite our differences”.
At another point in the lecture, Merkel commented that she was uncomfortable with the US sanctions on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, since it is something that “is done with a country like Iran, but not with an ally” , which is why she said she was very grateful for President Joe Biden’s initiative to bury the issue in 2021.
The former chancellor also defended the decision of the Bucharest Summit to 2008 of not granting Ukraine the status of candidate country for NATO membership, since then it was not a “democratically firm” country and was “dominated by oligarchs”.
merke l claimed 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 get closer to the West. .
That is why, according to him, he was against the admission of Ukraine to NATO because he “did not want to continue to provoke” this dynamic and it was necessary to “avoid escalation”.
In the lecture, Merkel also spoke about her personal encounters with Putin and recalled how, at his 2007 meeting in Sochi, the Russian president told her that for him the fall of the Soviet Union was the worst event of the century 21, to which she, born in East Germany, replied that it was “luck” that gave her “freedom”.
“It was clear that there was a great deal of dissent, which got worse. In all these years it was not possible to end the Cold War”, he declared.
Regarding the invasion of Ukraine, Merkel opined that the Kremlin committed a “catastrophic mistake”, because it was “a brutal attack, which disrespects international law and has no excuse”.
However, he asked that Russian culture not be summarily condemned, but that each work or artist be judged separately, since neither everyone is aligned with Putin.
When asked about her personal life after 21 years in power, Merkel said that staying longer in the chancellery would have been a “anachronism” and that it is a “beautiful feeling” to have left her of her own volition.
In the last six months, she said that she spent time exercising and reading “fat books”, something she did not had time to do it, and said he believed he would be “very happy” in his new phase of life.
However, he commented that he expected his retirement to be “different” and not marked by the “crack ” from the war a.
“I’m still a political person and, like many others, I’m often saddened these days,” she added.