Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl “considerably changed” his own views on relations between Russia and Europe, in St. Petersburg on Saturday, following the death of the former leader on Friday.
Putin said that Kohl’s, “ideas on future relations between Russia and Germany, Russia and the rest of Europe not only impressed me a great deal, but somehow, without exaggerating, considerably changed my own perception of these processes.” He added, “I saw a person of great depth, who was very thorough in his judgments.”
According to the Russian leader, Kohl believed that “Europe and Russia should definitely stay together” in order to “preserve our civilisation.”
“What is missing is that our partners should also be ready, and should shed their phobias of the past. Mr Kohl was the one who called for dropping all those phobias in order to look forward, into the future,” concluded Putin.
Helmut Kohl died in his hometown of Ludwigshafen at the age of 87. He served for 16 years in office between 1982 and 1998 making him the longest serving German chancellor since Otto von Bismarck. He was regarded as having played a pivotal role in German reunification and in the creation of the euro zone.
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