In an interview with a journalist, Angela Merkel defends her previous Russia policy. She sees no reason for regret. This outraged the Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin.

The Ukrainian ambassador Andriy Melnyk has sharply criticized ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel for justifying her Russia policy after 16 years in government.

Unfortunately, in the first interview since the change of government six months ago, “not a hint of self-criticism” could be felt, Melnyk told the German Press Agency on Wednesday. “The ex-Chancellor’s statements about the infallibility of her course in Russia and her far too lenient treatment of dictator Putin are disconcerting.”

Merkel defended her course on Russia against the harsh criticism of recent months in a conversation with the journalist Alexander Osang in the Berliner Ensemble on Tuesday evening. “Well, I don’t see that I have to say now, that was wrong, and that’s why I won’t apologize,” she said.

Melnyk countered how it could be that Russia was able to start “the bloodiest war in Europe since 1945” when German Russia policy “was so great” in recent decades. Putin was almost courted, and Berlin had always accommodated the Kremlin boss. Merkel’s current statements are “very regrettable,” said the ambassador. “Because without an honest, comprehensive review of Germany’s Russia policy, it is not at all possible to draw the right conclusions for the future relationship with Moscow and to stop its aggression.”

The Ukrainians are convinced that Germany’s position on NATO membership and Ukraine’s prospects of EU membership, the years of refusal to supply arms after the annexation of Crimea and the “reckless advancement” of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline up to the war “encouraged Putin to to attack Ukraine”.