The Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted some to criticize the former German leader for maintaining ties with Moscow. But Angela Merkel says she doesn’t blame herself for not trying hard enough to prevent conflict.
Merkel made the remarks as she answered a reporter’s questions at a Berlin theater on Tuesday.
She called the invasion a “big mistake”. She added that it had no justification and said it was a brutal attack that violates international law.
However, she defended the deal she brokered seven years ago in Minsk to facilitate fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists.
Merkel led Germany for 16 years before stepping down in December. She has been criticized for expanding economic ties with Russia and supporting the development of Russian energy sources.
Merkel opposed Ukraine’s joining NATO in 2008. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy blamed his “concession to Russia” for torturing civilians in Bucha.
However, Merkel said Ukraine was not ready to join the alliance because the country was not “democratically stable”. She added that Russian President Vladimir Putin would have seen Ukraine joining NATO as a “declaration of war”.