‘Should have started earlier’: Putin in response to Merkel’s comments that Minsk Agreements were an attempt to give Ukraine time

Russian President Vladimir Putin told a press conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan that the recent comments of ex-Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel about the Minsk Agreements were surprising and disappointing.

In an interview with Die Zeit newspaper published on Wednesday, Merkel spoke about the document which was intended to settle the armed conflict in east Ukraine.

“Let’s take a look at my policy on Russia and Ukraine. <…> It was an attempt to prevent this war [that is going on now]. The fact that this attempt failed does not mean that the attempts were wrong,” Merkel said.

“I believed it was wrong to initiate the NATO accession procedure of Ukraine and Georgia which was discussed in 2008. Neither of the countries had the necessary preconditions and did not think through the future consequences of this decision, both from the point of view of Russia’s actions against Georgia and Ukraine and for NATO and its members. The 2014 Minsk Agreement was an attempt to give Ukraine time,” she explained.

According to Putin, these comments prove that the decision to unleash a war on Ukraine was the right one since “it turns out that nobody was going to implement all these Minsk Agreements”.

The president added that the signatories to the agreement (Ukraine, France, and Germany apart from Russia) “were fooling us”.

Putin added that the time since the Minsk Agreements were signed was used to “fill up” Ukraine with weapons. “It seems like we took too long to wake up. Maybe we should have started it earlier,” he said.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, earlier also slammed the Merkel interview, branding her remarks as “a proper tribunal application”.

“When they [the West] held talks for many hours back then in 2015, they already knew that they would never implement it and that they would be filling up the Kyiv regime with weapons,” Zakharova noted. “They did not care about anyone: women, children, the civilian population of Donbas or Ukraine in general. They needed a conflict and they were ready for it back then already, in 2015,” she added.

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