For the first time, former Chancellor Angela Merkel made a public statement on current political issues. She sharply condemned the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. “This is a brutal attack that violates international law and for which there is no excuse,” said Merkel on Tuesday evening in Berlin. The attack was a big mistake on the part of Russia.

It was not possible to create a security architecture that would have prevented the war, Merkel said. “What I naturally asked myself is: What might you have missed? If more could have been done to prevent such a tragedy – I already consider this situation to be a great tragedy – it could have been prevented. And that’s why you ask yourself, and of course I keep asking myself these questions.”

Merkel pointed out that Putin had already told her during her visit to Sochi in 2007 that for him the collapse of the Soviet Union was “the worst thing of the 20th century”. It was already very clear back then that “there is a great deal of dissent”. And ultimately it was never possible to “really end the Cold War”.

For the first time since the end of her chancellorship, the ex-chancellor answered questions from a journalist. At the event organized by Aufbau Verlag and the Berliner Ensemble, Merkel was interviewed by “Spiegel” reporter Alexander Osang.

She has “complete trust” in the new federal government and her successor in office, Olaf Scholz (SPD). The transition of government went very well. There are people at work who are not “newcomers” and who know the situation. Merkel was chancellor for 16 years. It was very clear to her that it was the right time to stop.

When asked how she was doing, Merkel said she was doing very well personally. The “break” of the Russian war against Ukraine is also very much on her mind. She is sometimes depressed. Merkel talked about long hikes in winter on the Baltic Sea, she had heard many podcasts and audio books, including “Macbeth”. She didn’t get bored, she got through the days really well. She used to only have “appointments, appointments, appointments”. She is coping very well with her new phase of life.