Merkel, the country’s first chancellor from the former Communist East Germany, speaks Russian and has telephoned with President Vladimir Putin regularly since Russia moved to seize Crimea to urge him to back down.
“Fortunately, I like the rest of us have been able to leave the Cold War behind me,” Merkel told reporters in Brussels today when asked about her view of a renewal of the east-west divide. “I also think that history doesn’t easily repeat itself.”
After rejecting Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s southern Crimea region following the ouster of the former Soviet republic’s Moscow-backed leader, Merkel called on Putin’s government to return to the international fold. She reiterated her stance that “methods of the 19th and 20th centuries certainly can’t successfully resolve the conflicts of the 21st century.”
“Today we’re all very much tied together,” Merkel said. Those who work to dismantle the current system of cooperation “will note sooner or later this will be to their own great disadvantage.”
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