At a personal conversation during the G20 Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel discussed the situation in the Donbas. She wanted to be alone to see if she could have more frank talk with Putin and to see what he really wants, says one of the German officials. However, the desired information shocked Merkel, writes the Financial Times.
According to the newspaper, Putin said that Kyiv has to do the same thing with the Donbas as Russia did with the Chechen Republic. According to the Russian leader, the Ukrainian government should "buy" separatists with money and grant them autonomy. Perhaps it was a sensible idea for the former KGB colonel. But it was unacceptable for the daughter of a pastor from East Germany with a deep sense of justice, the Financial Times emphasizes.
The publication notes that after this meeting, Merkel and Putin did not meet personally, but often spoke on the phone. As one of the representatives of the Russian authorities said, the "special" relationship between the two leaders is a myth in the media. "Putin and Merkel could never stand each other," the official said.
The author believes that prior to the conflict in the Donbas Merkel considered Putin as a "difficult partner, who was, however, possible to do business with." But soon she realized that the Russian leader "does not tell her the truth." The Chancellor did not allow herself to publicly accuse Putin of lying, but during personal conversations with other European leaders, she assured everyone that he was not telling the truth, the newspaper writes.
Previously, experts noted that President Vladimir Putin keeps his popularity in Russia partly thanks to cheap vodka.