Angela Merkel has said that decisions she made while in office, as well as her departure last year, may have influenced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February. While ultimately blaming him for the decision to attack, she cautioned that the West “must take Putin seriously.”
In one of her first major interviews since leaving office in December, excerpts of which were published by Germany’s RND news network on Friday, Merkel revealed that she had attempted to talk to Putin last year about a European security order, but the Russian leader was not interested.
“On the one hand, Putin was no longer ready for a Normandy-style summit,” she said, referring to the four-way meetings between Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine that resulted in the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements. These protocols failed to end the war in Donbass, with Russia accusing Kiev of breaching their calls for a ceasefire and ignoring their recommendations that Ukraine grant some autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.