Merkel says she lost sway with Russia as a lame duck: ‘For Putin, only power counts’

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Former German leader Angela Merkel says her decision to step down as chancellor last year caused her to lose sway with Russia in the months leading up to its invasion of Ukraine.

“The feeling was very clear: ‘In terms of power politics, you are through,’” Merkel said in a recent interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, according to Insider. “For [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, only power counts.”

Merkel stepped down as chancellor in December 2021 after 16 years in the role. Less than three months after she officially retired, Russia invaded Ukraine, initiating a war that has now dragged on for nine months.

“I no longer had the power to push my ideas through because everyone knew ‘she’ll be gone by autumn,’” she said, The Guardian reported.

During her final months in office in the summer of 2021, Merkel said she and French President Emmanuel Macron unsuccessfully attempted to set up talks between the European Union and Putin over tensions with Ukraine.

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Merkel also noted that Putin chose to include Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in his final meeting with her in August 2021, even though they had previously met one-on-one.

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