BERLIN, March 20 (Reuters) – On a Sunday in early March, a
day after Vladimir Putin won parliamentary backing for an
invasion of Ukraine, Angela Merkel called him to demand an
explanation. The German leader was shaken by what she heard,
sources within her party say.
For weeks, in a series of phone calls, the Russian
president, speaking mainly in the German he perfected as a KGB
agent in East Germany, had assured the chancellor he would
respect the territorial integrity of his western neighbour and
had no plans to intervene militarily.
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BERLIN (Reuters) – China’s top envoy to Germany has warned the West against punishing Russia with sanctions for its intervention in Ukraine, saying such measures could lead to a dangerous chain reaction that would be difficult to control.
In an interview with Reuters days before the European Union is threatening to impose its first sanctions on Russia since the Cold War, ambassador Shi Mingde issued the strongest warning against such measures by any top Chinese official to date.