Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her foreign policy towards Russia, after widespread accusations that her olive branch policy had emboldened Vladimir Putin to mount a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking for the first time in public since her political retirement, Merkel declared that she does not need to "apologise" for relying on diplomacy and trade to avoid a war in Ukraine.
During Tuesday's interview with German journalist Alexander Osang, Merkel reiterated her belief that Russia's invasion of Ukraine "is a heinous violation of international law for which there is no justification."
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However, the former Chancellor's dealings with the Russian state have come under fire recently, with her construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline being blamed for increasing Europe's reliance on Russian energy.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky even accused her of making significant concessions to Russia by blocking Ukraine's NATO membership bid in 2008.
Nonetheless, she refuted any suggestion that this contributed to the invasion. Instead, she argued that it was in Germany's best interests to "establish a modus vivendi with Russia so that we do not end up in a state of war."