German Chancellor Angela Merkel claims that back in 2001, during a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Bundestag, she realized that there were serious disagreements with the Russian leader. She outlined her point of view in an interview published on Saturday with the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
“It was always clear to me, even when he said in the Bundestag in 2001 that there are significant disagreements”, – said Merkel.
“But when I took office, I could not even imagine that he would annex Crimea and that in the east of Ukraine – practically next to the European Union – such military clashes would occur,” the acting chancellor noted.
She also expressed the opinion that Berlin’s role in the world is declining, despite the fact that Germany is a rich country. According to Merkel, the reason was “a complete change in the balance of power.” “When I became chancellor, China’s GDP of $ 2.3 trillion was slightly lower than Germany’s $ 2.8 trillion. Today, China’s GDP is $ 14.7 trillion, and ours has grown to $ 3.8 trillion,” she explained. she.
“In this regard, we should strategically and intelligently build our relations. Today we must fight to continue to preserve our importance,” added the head of government. She believes that now “everything must be done to find a way that will unite Europe.”
Putin addressed the Bundestag on September 25, 2001. He then recalled the long-standing traditions of Russian-German relations, the contribution that the Germans made to the development of the Russian economy and culture, touched upon the issue of ensuring global security and other topics. The head of state delivered the main part of his speech in German.