German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, left, listen to the national anthems during the welcoming ceremony, prior to a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, June 18, 2019. (Photo: AP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared unsteady and was visibly shaking Tuesday as she greeted the new Ukrainian leader in the hot sun in Berlin, saying later that she clearly hadn’t drunk enough water.
Merkel’s whole body visibly shook and she pursed her lips as she tried to contain the situation as she stood with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the 28-degree Celsius (82-degree Fahrenheit) heat while a military band played their national anthems outside the chancellery.
But following the anthems, Merkel seemed better, walking quickly along the red carpet with Zelenskiy into the building, pausing to greet the military band and take a salute.
About an hour later, following their meeting, Merkel told reporters at a joint news conference that they had discussed bilateral issues and the Minsk peace process during Zelenskiy’s first visit to the German capital as president.
Merkel, who turns 65 next month, smiled broadly after a reporter asked whether her shaking was cause for concern. She replied that she was fine.
“Since then I’ve drunk at least three glasses of water, which I apparently needed, and now I’m doing very well,” she said.
She laughed and gave Zelenskiy a smile when he assured reporters the chancellor had been secure at his side.
“She was totally safe,” he said.
The dpa news agency reported that this was not the first time Merkel has been seen shaking under similar circumstances in the hot sun. It did not give a date for that incident, but said it was also ascribed to Merkel not drinking enough water.
And in 2014, Merkel postponed a television interview at the last minute after reported weakness, but her spokesman said at the time she was able to carry it out later after eating and drinking something.
It is not publicly known if Merkel, who has led Germany since 2005, has any health problems. German privacy laws are very strict on that type of information.