zh c/s...Germany and Russia
On this issue Merkel clearly took the hint, which Trump may have spelled out to her more clearly when they met in private, that Trump wants detente with Russia and does not want the conflict in Ukraine to stand in the way of this, though her choice of words in response were carefully ambiguous and were clearly intended to give her political space
I am very gratified to know that the American administration and also the President, personally, commits himself to the Minsk process. We need to come to a solution of this problem. There has to be a safe and secure solution for Ukraine, but the relationship with Russia has to be improved, as well, once the situation there on the ground is clarified.
Minsk is a good basis, but, unfortunately, we haven’t made yet the headway that we want to. But we are going to work together with our experts in the next few months to come on this issue.
This comment is simultaneously a concession to Donald Trump’s desire for detente with Russia – making it seem that Merkel agrees with Trump that an improvement of relations with Russia is a “necessity” – whilst actually imposing a condition that this depends on “clarification” of “the situation on the ground” in Ukraine. What Merkel is saying is that the “necessary” improvement in relations with Russia depends on “a safe and secure solution for Ukraine” to be achieved through implementation of the Minsk Agreement as she interprets it.
Essentially this is a form of words Merkel has hit on in order to justify keeping the sanctions in place.
The German elite has had to endure for three years a Chancellor who has done serious damage to Germany’s critical relationship with Russia, and who has brought Germany’s relations with many of its EU partners to the point of crisis. As elections in Germany loom, will they stick with their current Chancellor as Germany’s relations with Washington also now start to become more difficult, or will they finally start to look for someone new?