Angela Merkel said her decision to step down as German chancellor last year caused her to lose Russian President Vladimir Putin's respect in the months leading up to the Ukraine invasion.
"The feeling was very clear: 'In terms of power politics, you are through,'" Merkel told Der Spiegel in an interview. "For Putin, only power counts," adding that she "no longer had the power to push ideas because "everyone knew 'she'll be gone by autumn.'"
"Had I been standing again in September, I'd have kept drilling down, but ... at my final meeting in Moscow, the feeling was clear: From a political power point of view, you're finished. For Putin, it is only power that counts," she added.
Merkel stepped down as chancellor in December 2021 after 16 years in the role, with Russia launching its offensive into Ukraine only several months later, The Guardian noted.
Notably, the chancellor stated 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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