The former German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that she tried hard to prevent the situation in Ukraine from developing to the current state, adding that she does not blame herself for not trying hard enough.
Merkel spoke about the Minsk agreement with Russia in 2014, and said it was a great sadness that it didn't work out, but I don't blame myself for not trying. She spoke to ARD in an interview with German journalist and author Alexander Osang.
Merkel, who led the West's annexation of Crimea in 2014 after its annexation of Crimea, said the Minsk agreement calmed the situation and gave Ukraine time to become what it is today.
What would happen if nobody cared and Putin just continued? She said I don't want to know that at all.
Merkel said there was no justified justification for Russia's brutal disregard of international law in Ukraine and that she had been against a plan to let Ukraine into NATO because she wanted to prevent escalation with Russia and Ukraine.
She said that Ukraine was not the Ukraine we know today. She said that the country was not stable, it was riddled with corruption.
A fluent Russian-speaker, who grew up in the former communist East Germany, Merkel drew criticism from the United States and others for supporting the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, designed to deliver Russian gas directly to Germany.
The former chancellor defended her policy of supporting trade with Russia, saying that Europe and Russia were neighbors that could not ignore each other.
She said she had wrestled with questions about the former Soviet Union throughout her time in office, but it was never possible to end the Cold War.
She said that we simply didn't succeed in creating a security architecture to prevent that.
Merkel was a conservative and made a brief statement shortly after Russia's invasion in February, but her silence has raised eyebrows.
She was criticised for visiting Italy after news of atrocities in Bucha near Kyiv, rather than taking up an invitation to visit Ukraine in April.
A mass-selling Bild newspaper called a report on her visit was invited to Bucha, driven by mass-selling Bild to Florence.
In the hour and a half interview, the 67-year-old Merkel said she knew the trip would be controversial but she wanted to make clear that she was no longer the Chancellor.
This trip was very important for me for my process of decoupling from politics.