Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is reported to have become “really annoyed” about Russian President Vladimir Putin and has questioned whether he “was still in touch with reality.”
The German mass circulation Bild newspaper wrote on Monday that during a telephone conversation she held with US President Barack Obama to discuss the growing crisis in Ukraine she complained that Mr Putin was “living in another world.”
“She appears to have become really annoyed,” Bild remarked. The paper said it had gained inside information on the telephone exchange between the US and German leaders from American sources.
Ukraine Crisis: Keep Your Eyes on Angela Merkel : The New Yorker
If there is a solution to the crisis, it may lay in Berlin, in the personage of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor and the de facto leader of the European Union. Since the Russian troops moved into Crimea, Merkel has said little publicly, confining herself to a few anodyne comments about “preserving the territorial integrity” of Ukraine. Behind the scenes, though, she is at the center of things. And, if anybody can persuade Putin that it is in his interests to order his soldiers back to their barracks, she might be the one.
Russia is Germany’s biggest supplier of energy, and it still regards Germany as an ally rather than a potential enemy. Merkel, despite having criticized Russia for its human-rights violations on several occasions over the years, has maintained a businesslike relationship with Putin, who speaks excellent German. (He was once stationed in Dresden as a K.G.B. officer.) The two leaders appear to respect each other’s toughness. As the crisis has unfolded, they have spoken several times, most recently on Sunday night, when Putin agreed to Merkel’s proposal to establish a “contact group” to open a dialogue between the two sides.
(image via DonkeyHotey)