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Angela Merkel warned that isolating Russia isn’t possible long term even if Russian President Vladimir Putin made a “big mistake” by invading Ukraine, in the former German chancellor’s tentative return to the public arena.

“There’s no excuse for this brutal aggression,” the 67-year-old said on Tuesday in an on-stage interview at a theater in central Berlin. While she has remained active behind the scenes, it was her first public appearance in front of a larger audience since leaving office in December.

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