Siemens CEO expresses regret for comments on Ukraine standoff

BERLIN Wed May 7, 2014 5:27am EDT

BERLIN May 7 (Reuters) - The head of German conglomerate Siemens expressed regret on Wednesday for referring to the West's showdown with Russia over Ukraine as "short-term turbulences" when he held a controversial meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in late March.

"The situation has escalated and I am very concerned about developments," CEO Joe Kaeser said when asked about the remarks at a strategy presentation in Berlin.

He said he had only meant to contrast the current situation with deeper crises experienced during the two world wars, but in retrospect should have used different wording.

In defending his trip to Moscow, Kaeser had said in March that Siemens wanted to honour long-standing business contracts and did not pay too much attention to "short-term turbulences" in its business planning.

"I thought it was important that we talk to each other and not about each other," he said on Wednesday, referring to the Putin meeting. (Reporting by Noah Barkin)