Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel forcefully condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine in her first public speech since leaving office in December of last year.
Premising her comments by saying that she did not want to give advice from the sidelines, Merkel described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “barbaric war of aggression” that constituted a “far-reaching turning point” and the most “glaring breach of international law” in Europe since the Second World War.
“My solidarity goes out to Ukraine, which has been attacked and raided by Russia,” the former leader said at a German trade union event in Berlin on Wednesday night, adding that Ukraine’s right to self-defense was indisputable.
Merkel, who led Germany for 16 years, has come under heavy scrutiny in the last few months for her history of friendly relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and track record of expanding economic ties between Russia and Germany.
Many criticize her for increasing Germany’s dependence on Russian energy imports, particularly with the establishment of the first Nord Stream gas pipeline between the two countries.
She was also the driving force behind the now-defunct Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which her successor, Olaf Scholz, aborted just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.