German ex-Chancellor Merkel makes rare appearance

STORY: Merkel has not spoken in public since leaving office last year and Tuesday’s participation at an event hosted by the German president was thought to be the first time she was seen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The former chancellor issued a written statement the next day and wrote Russia's invasion of Ukraine marked a "deep rupture in Europe's history following the end of the Cold War" as her own legacy came under fresh scrutiny in light of the assault.

Merkel, who speaks fluent Russian and led Germany for 16 years until last December, was long seen as the West's key interlocutor with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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