Merkel ‘doing very well’ after visibly shaking at Berlin ceremony

German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared unsteady and was visibly shaking as she greeted the new Ukrainian leader in the hot sun in Berlin, saying later that she clearly had not drunk enough water.

Mrs 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 28C (82F) heat while a military band played their national anthems outside the chancellery.

But following the anthems, Mrs Merkel seemed better, walking quickly along the red carpet with Mr Zelenskiy into the building, pausing to greet the military band and take a salute.

About an hour later following their meeting, Mrs Merkel told reporters at a joint news conference that they had discussed bilateral issues and the Minsk peace process during Mr Zelenskiy's first visit to the German capital as president.

Mrs Merkel, who turns 65 next month, smiled broadly after a reporter asked whether her shaking was a cause for concern, saying that she was fine.

Angela Merkel with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the chancellery in Berlin
Angela Merkel with Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the chancellery (Markus Schreiber/AP)

"Since then I've drunk at least three glasses of water, which I apparently needed, and now I'm doing very well," she said.

Mrs Merkel laughed and gave Mr 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 Mrs Merkel has been seen shaking under similar circumstances in the hot sun.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy
Mrs Merkel said she had drunk at least three glasses of water (Michael Sohn/AP)

It did not give a date for that incident, but said it was also ascribed to Mrs Merkel not drinking enough water.

And in 2014, Mrs 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 Mrs Merkel, who has led Germany since 2005, has any health problems.

German privacy laws are very strict on that type of information.