German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Kiev with nearly empty hands on Saturday – that is, if you consider all Ukraine wants at the moment is economic aid and weapons. In both cases, she didn’t fulfill her host’s wishes on her first visit to the Ukrainian capital since the outbreak of conflict with Russia.
Instead of direct financial aid to the war-torn country, Ms. Merkel pledged €500 million ($690 million), mostly in credit guarantees for reconstruction projects in eastern Ukraine.
It was the right approach, however, since she is the only western politician who still gets a hearing from the Kremlin with any regularity. Admittedly, that’s barely changed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions, but cutting this line of communication would be careless.
Ms. Merkel is following a policy she set during the 2008 military conflict between Russia and the former Soviet state Georgia. Back then, she didn’t back Georgia’s bid for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and last weekend, she did not back that for Ukraine either.