Merkel's last trip to Moscow and Kyiv

Angela Merkel made her last state visit to Putin in Moscow on Friday. She then travelled to Kyiv and met President Zelensky. But she did not stay for the Crimea Platform summit on the future of the annexed peninsula which is taking place today, Monday. What are commentators saying about her farewell visits?

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Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Thorny roses as a farewell gesture

Merkel's last state visit to Moscow was not exactly free of thorny issues, Rzeczpospolita points out:

“The poisoning of Alexei Navalny, who is now serving time in a penal colony, was only a year ago; there are only 15 kilometres to go before Nord Stream 2 is completed, the war with Ukraine still hangs in the balance, and a new migration crisis is looming, which Russia and Belarus are already treating as part of their own hybrid war against the EU. This latest trip to Moscow can hardly come as a surprise; it is the final gesture of Merkel's years in power, and the bouquet of flowers presented to her by her host in the Kremlin is a telling symbol.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Merkel's successor must stand firm

Russia will continue to openly act as an adversary to Nato, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung predicts, and points out where this competition will play out:

“Afghanistan, where Nato has just suffered its bitterest defeat, will probably not become a central arena for this competition; the country is not strategically important enough for that. ... The more urgent question, however, is Ukraine. Putin's recent sabre-rattling and his attempts to deny Ukraine its autonomy indicate that he is not finished with the country. Merkel reacted to the annexation of Crimea with firm sanctions that probably prevented worse things from happening. Her successor must stand firm.” (UA) /

Berlin playing right into Moscow's hands

For journalist Alexandr Demchenko it is clear which side the Chancellor is on. He writes in

“Merkel's decision not to attend the Crimea Platform summit is also an attempt to accommodate Russia. ... For some reason Angela Merkel seems to have forgotten that Russia is about to hold the State Duma election in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk this September. No one is talking about the fact that this is an annexation of these territories. ... The problem is that Germany is playing into the hands of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, and that our state is again losing its freedom and continues to be dependent on Moscow.”

Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

Ukraine should be grateful

Writing in Ukrayinska Pravda, Tetiana Gaiduk of the KyivNotKiev project and Denis Gutik, a student at Kyiv Shevchenko University, lament Merkel's departure:

“Merkel is indeed a sort of paradox, someone who often acts differently than you would expect her to. Despite controversial views of her as a political figure, she is one of the world's most competent experts on the Ukraine question. ... Her departure will certainly have an impact on the situation here. Will Ukrainians miss the Chancellor? We can't answer this question yet, because the answer depends too much on who replaces her and which parties form the new German government. But Ukraine should certainly remember Merkel's work with gratitude.”