Former Chancellor Angela Merkel has fundamentally defended her Russia policy a year after the end of her chancellorship. “I come to the conclusion that I made the decisions I made back then in a way that I can understand today. It was an attempt to prevent just such a war. The fact that this was not successful does not mean that the attempts were wrong,” said Merkel in an interview with “Zeit”.

With a view to the occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, however, she admitted that she made mistakes. At that time, the NATO countries had agreed to spend two percent of their gross domestic product on defense. “Germany has not reached the two percent target despite the increase,” regretted Merkel. “And I didn’t give a passionate speech about it every day either.” Her conclusion:. “We should have reacted more quickly to Russia’s aggressiveness”

In retrospect, the then Chancellor did not consider the approval for the construction of the German-Russian natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 to be a mistake. A ban on the project would have “dangerously worsened the climate with Russia,” Merkel said. In addition, the dependency on Russian gas is not solely a result of the joint pipeline project. It was primarily due to the fact that less gas had been delivered from Norway, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

In October, Merkel also defended the decision to use Russian gas. That was necessary for the gradual phase-out of coal and nuclear power, Merkel said in a speech in Lisbon at the time