‘Nothing to apologise for!’ Angela Merkel defends record on Putin in face of Ukraine war

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The former German Chancellor has been accused of leaving Europe vulnerable through her strong business relationship with Moscow, however she stated she has “nothing to apologise for”.

When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 while she was in office she supported sanctions against them and also opposed Ukraine joining NATO, views that she stands by.

Germany has struggled to wean itself off its Russian energy supply in the face of sanctions against the Kremlin as its own economy faces severe difficulties.

It was under her leadership that the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Germany and Russia was completed, having now been suspended by her successor Olaf Scholz.

However, Mrs Merkel still believes that the two countries were “neighbours that could not ignore each other”, according to the BBC.

Mrs Merkel told broadcaster ARD: “We have to find a way to co-exist despite all our differences.

“If we start going back through the centuries and arguing over which bit of territory should belong to whom, then we will only have war.

“That’s not an option whatsoever.”

She also said that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was “not just unacceptable but also a major mistake by Russia”.

She defended Germany’s efforts to maintain peace in Ukraine during the Crimea annexation through sanctions, saying it allowed the country to develop and get stronger.

She added: “I don’t have to blame myself for not trying hard enough.

“I don’t see that I have to say ‘that was wrong’ and that’s why I have nothing to apologise for.”

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While she was Chancellor she argued that Ukraine would not have been suitable for NATO membership as it was “not stable” and “riddled with corruption”.

Mrs Merkel said on Tuesday that she had the “highest respect” for President Volodymyr Zelensky and was impressed by the Ukrainian “courage and passion”.

However, President Zelensky described Germany’s previous decision to block Ukraine’s NATO membership in 2008 as a “miscalculation”.

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