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German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts as she delivers a speech at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing in this February 2, 2012 file photo.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts as she delivers a speech at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing in this February 2, 2012 file photo.
(David Gray/Reuters)

Merkel’s predecessors reject West’s Ukraine strategy

Two former German chancellors have spoken out in defence of the Russian annexation of Crimea. Helmut Schmidt, who led a Social Democrat government at the height of the Cold War, dismissed the sanctions targeted at Russian individuals as “nonsense” and said that he could well understand President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea. His remarks follow a critique of the West’s strategy towards Ukraine by fellow Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder, who has compared the Russian annexation of Ukraine with NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999.