Report: Merkel slams war in Ukraine, hints at next role

BERLIN (AP) — Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel has slammed Russia’s attack on Ukraine and suggested a possible return to the limelight in her first semi-public comments since leaving office, the country’s dpa news agency reported Thursday.

Speaking at a trade union event late Wednesday, Merkel reportedly said she felt the need to address the war in Ukraine despite not wanting to provide any commentary from the sidelines, having stepped down as chancellor last December.

Dpa quoted the former long-time leader saying she supported “all efforts by the German government as well as the European Union, the United States, our partners in the G-7, in NATO and the U.N. to stop the barbaric war of attack by Russia.”

Merkel also expressed solidarity with Ukraine and said she supported Kyiv’s right to self-defense, dpa reported.

It was unclear whether Merkel addressed the criticism directed at her by Ukrainian officials for backing energy deals with Russian President Vladimir Putin even after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Her office didn’t immediately respond to a request for a transcript of the speech.

The 67-year-old also emphasized the importance of unity within the European Union’s 27 nations, saying everyone should contribute to the goal of unity on the continent, according to dpa.

Merkel hinted that she herself might play a role in that at the European level going forward.

“I will have to disappoint those who are counting on me disappearing,” dpa quoted her as saying.

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Follow all AP stories on the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.

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