Germany’s ex-Chancellor says Minsk agreements were made in good faith, although she has previously said they were meant to ‘give Ukraine time’
Angela Merkel, German chancellor from 2005 to 2021, said this week that she had done everything she could to prevent conflict in Ukraine. The veteran politician backs his efforts to broker the 2014-15 ceasefire agreements, saying they were reached in good faith. Months before this week’s interview, however, she hinted that the deals were just a ploy to buy Ukraine time.
In an interview with Die Zeit editor Giovanni di Lorenzo on Saturday, Merkel said that she “tried with what was at my disposal to prevent” the current conflict in Ukraine. Just because those efforts ultimately failed doesn’t mean they were misguided, the ex-chancellor insisted, adding that “diplomacy is a necessity.”
The politician defended the Minsk peace process, which aimed to end fighting and advance talks between Kyiv and Donbass rebels, who were among the Ukrainians who rejected the outcome of the 2014 coup in the capital.
In the interview, Merkel also lamented that at the time few European nations other than Germany and France were interested in these diplomatic efforts.
The ex-Chancellor also claimed the agreements were drawn up in good faith.
However, in an interview published last December in Die Zeit, she acknowledged that in reality the Minsk protocol had been a “trying to give Ukraine time,“which he took advantage of to”become stronger“, as evidenced by the battlefield now.
At the end of 2022, Merkel said it was “clear to all of us that the conflict was frozen, that the problem had not been resolved, but it gave Ukraine precious time.”
In this week’s interview, Merkel also told how “President Zelensky was very critical of the Minsk agreement, and he had said so since his election campaign.“Despite differences of opinion on the issue, she always trusted the Ukrainian head of state,” noted the former German official.
According to the ex-chancellor, the broad consensus among Ukrainian politicians was that the Minsk agreement was not popular in the country.
Explaining the need to launch a military operation against Ukraine last February, Russian President Vladimir Putin notably accused kyiv of not respecting the terms of the agreement. Under Minsk I and II, Ukraine was supposed to enact constitutional reform and grant autonomy to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.