The 2014 ceasefire brokered by Berlin and Paris in Minsk was an attempt to give Kiev time to strengthen its military and was successful in that regard, former German chancellor Angela Merkel argued in an interview published on Wednesday.
In an extensive interview about her 16 years in power, Merkel told Zeit magazine her policy towards Russia and Ukraine was correct, even if not successful.
“I thought the initiation of NATO accession for Ukraine and Georgia discussed in 2008 to be wrong,” Merkel said. “The countries neither had the necessary prerequisites for this, nor had the consequences of such a decision been fully considered, both with regard to Russia’s actions against Georgia and Ukraine and to NATO and its rules of assistance.”
She described the September 2014 Minsk agreement as “an attempt to give Ukraine time.” France and Germany had brokered a ceasefire after the failure of Ukraine’s attempt to subdue the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk by force.
“[Ukraine] used this time to get stronger, as you can see today,” Merkel continued. “The Ukraine of 2014/15 is not the Ukraine of today. As you saw in the battle for Debaltsevo in early 2015, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin could easily have overrun them at the time. And I very much doubt that the NATO countries could have done as much then as they do now to help Ukraine.”