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Ukraine war: Merkel says she has no power to influence Putin

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her policy against Russia before the February invasion of Ukraine, saying she no longer has the power to influence Vladimir Putin.

He said that he tried to bring the EU talks with the President of Russia and the President of France Emmanuel Macron in the summer of 2021.

“But I don’t have the ability to control myself,” he told Spiegel. “Of course, everyone knows it: in the fall, it will go away,” he said.

After four terms as Chancellor, Merkel resigned in December. He made a final visit to Moscow in August 2021 and told a German newspaper that “the feeling is clear: ‘In terms of power politics, you are finished'”.

He added that “for Putin, only power is important”.

It is significant that, for their last meeting, Mr Putin brought with him Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, he said. He said earlier, they met individually.

In light of President Putin’s attack – which has been building up to several weeks of heavy fighting on the Ukrainian border – many have said that Merkel and other EU leaders should take a hard line with the Kremlin. A foreign policy expert from the Christian Democratic Party (CDU), MP Roderich Kiesewetter, is among those who say he knows Mr Putin is trying to divide and destabilize Europe, but he thinks “soft power” is the right way. . He argued before the invasion that Germany was dependent on Russian gas.

In an interview with Spiegel, Merkel said that her position in Ukraine and the Minsk peace talks have allowed Kyiv to better defend itself against Russian forces.

The ceasefire agreement was reached in Minsk after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and during its proxy war in the Donbass region. But key points, including disarmament and international supervision, have not been done.

Merkel said that she does not regret leaving office in December because she believes that her government is not making progress not only in the Ukraine crisis, but also in the conflicts in Moldova, Georgia, Syria and Libya, which are related to Russia. With Mr. Both Putin has direct experience of life in communist East Germany – he grew up there and served there as an officer in the Soviet KGB, working in secret intelligence. Mr. Putin speaks fluent German and Mrs. Merkel speaks a little Russian.

Ukraine is struggling to regain power in the first winter of the nine-month war

Most of Ukraine was left without heat and power on Thursday after the most devastating Russian airstrikes on its power lines to date, and Kyiv residents have been warned to prepare for another attack and to make more water, food is warm clothes.

Thursday marked nine months since Moscow launched what it called a “special military operation” to protect Russian speakers. Ukraine and the West say the attack is an unnecessary war of aggression.

Since early October, Russia has launched missiles about once a week in an effort to destroy Ukraine’s nuclear power plant. Moscow agreed to attack key infrastructure, saying it wanted to reduce Ukraine’s ability to fight and force it to negotiate. Kyiv said such an attack was a war crime. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video speech overnight, “We have endured nine months of total war and Russia has not found a way to destroy us, and they will not find one.”
Zelenskiy also accused Russia of incessantly bombing Kherson, the southern Ukrainian city he abandoned earlier this month. Seven people were killed and 21 wounded in the Russian attack on Thursday, local authorities said. Seen from space, Ukraine became the darkest place on Earth in an instant, NASA satellite photos show. Zelenskiy said that while electricity, heating, communications and water are gradually being restored, problems continue with water in 15 districts.

Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s national electricity regulator, said 50% of demand was still available at 7 p.m. Kyiv time (1700 GMT). In the capital city of Kyiv, a city of three million people, 60% of the population is powerless and the temperature is below zero, Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said.

“We understand that bombings like this can happen again. We will be ready for any development,” he added, according to the Kyiv City Council.

The authorities have set up “invincible places”, where people can charge phones, heat up and get hot drinks. “It is the second day we have no electricity or food. More than 60 children are waiting for food and we cannot prepare anything until the electricity is fixed,” said one of the women. These companies in Kyiv said. Russia’s latest nuclear disaster kills 11 and shuts down all of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants for the first time in 40 years.

Zelenskiy told the Financial Times that the strike this week has created a situation that has not been seen in 80 or 90 years – “a country on the European continent where there is no electricity.”

Early in the evening, government officials said that the operator of the power plant, Khmelnytskyi, was replaced with the grid. The Zaporizhzhia power plant, located in the region under Russian control, was connected on Thursday, announced the Ukrainian nuclear company Energoatom.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was Kyiv that Ukrainians were suffering because it refused to give in to Moscow’s demands, which he did not elaborate on. Ukraine says it will end hostilities when all Russian troops leave.

Nuclear officials say a power outage could disrupt the cooling system and lead to a nuclear disaster.

Thousands are missing

More than 15,000 people disappeared during the war in Ukraine, according to an official from the Kyiv office of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) based in The Hague.

ICMP’s program director for Europe, Matthew Holliday, said it was not known how many people were forcibly transported, detained in Russia, alive and separated from family members, or dead and buried. In Kyiv, members of the Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theater held a tearful farewell for 26-year-old ballet dancer Vadym Khlupianets, who was killed in an attack by Russian troops.

Moscow has taken measures to attack Ukraine’s infrastructure even as Kyiv has been defeated by Russian forces since September. The first winter of the war will now test whether Ukraine will continue its campaign to regain territory, or whether Russian commanders can stop the power of Kyiv.

Zelenskiy said that in some areas Ukrainian forces are preparing to advance, but he did not give any details. When it ended, Russia had a shorter line to defend to hold the captured lands, while more than a third of the front now blocked the Dnipro River.

Russia has launched its own offensive on the western front of the city of Donetsk, which has been held by Moscow’s proxies since 2014. Ukraine said that Russian forces tried again to advance on their targets of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, with little success.

Reuters could not immediately verify the account on the battlefield.

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