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Ukraine War: Merkel Says Minsk Talks Helped Kyiv Buy Time, Prepare Better

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel in an interview with German media The Spiegel defended his policy towards Russia and said his stance on Ukraine at the Minsk peace talks made Kyiv better able to fight Russia.

Merkel said she no longer had the power to sway Russian President Vladimir Putin towards the endgame of his chancellorship. The former German Chancellor said she had tried to arrange talks between European partners Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron in the summer of 2021.

She said everyone knew she would be gone in the fall. “Really, everyone knew it: in the fall, she will be gone. In terms of power politics, you are done (and) for Putin, only power matters,” Merkel said, as quoted by the news agency. The Spiegel.

Merkel pointed out that in a significant gesture, Putin had decided to bring Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, with him. His previous meetings with Putin were one-on-one.

After the launch of Russia’s so-called ‘military operation’ in Ukraine, Merkel and other EU leaders were criticized for not taking a tougher stance on Putin and Russia .

The BBC in a report said a foreign policy expert from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU), MP Roderich Kiesewetter, was among those who believed Merkel was aware that Putin was trying to divide and weaken Europe but that she always relied on “soft power”. Kiesewetter also said that Germany was too dependent on Russian gas before the invasion.

The Minsk talks resulted in a ceasefire agreement after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and sparked a proxy war in the Donbass region. However, key objectives such as disarmament and international supervision have not been implemented.

Merkel said she did not regret leaving office in December because she felt her government had failed to make progress on Ukraine and also on other conflicts such as Moldova, Georgia, Syria and Libya, all of which involved Russia.

The BBC report pointed out that Merkel, like Putin, has direct experience of life in communist East Germany. Merkel lived in East Germany for several years and Putin was an officer in the Soviet KGB, doing covert intelligence work in East Germany. Putin speaks fluent German while Merkel speaks a little Russian.

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