Nine years after the infamous meeting between Russian president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vladmir Putin has explained he didn’t mean to scare German chancellor by bringing his dog.
Merkel, who reportedly is fearful of dogs since one bit her in 1995, looked noticeably uncomfortable when Putin brought his huge black Labrador Koni, into a meeting at his residence in Sochi, Russia in 2007.
“The dog does not bother you, does she? She’s a friendly dog and I’m sure she will behave herself,” Putin said at the time.
“I understand why he has to do this — to prove he’s a man,” said Merkel after the 2007 encounter. “He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.”
However, nine years later, Putin tells German newspaper Bild he had no intention of frightening Merkel.
“I wanted to do something nice for her,” he told the newspaper, in an interview published Monday.
“When I found out she doesn’t like dogs, of course I apologised.”
In the interview, Putin was complimentary of the German leader, though he denied having said he admired her.
“I never said that. I value her as very professional and open,” he said.
Putin said that, despite tensions with the West, both countries share an interest in fighting terrorism.
This article originally appeared on CNN