Defiant Schroeder will keep talking to Putin
A diplomatic solution to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is the only way to alleviate the suffering of civilians, former chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, has told Germany’s FAZ newspaper, adding that he will continue to use every opportunity to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The former German chancellor, who was earlier forced to leave the board of Russian oil giant Rosneft, is now facing possible expulsion from his Social Democratic Party (SPD). His perceived close relations with Moscow are cited as one of the reasons why the party considers his behavior “damaging” to its image, according to FAZ.
Schroeder, however, believes that the idea of isolating Russia politically is flawed “I will not give up on… opportunities to talk to President [Vladimir] Putin,” he told FAZ in an interview published on Sunday.
Russia is “interested in a negotiated solution,” he claimed, as he blamed Kiev for the stalled talks with Moscow. Schroeder, who sought to act as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia in early March, said that the Ukrainians did not want any commitments “written down.” Such a position made any “serious” talks impossible at that stage, he added.
The former chancellor also dismissed the West’s focus on supplying Ukraine with arms “I don't believe in a military solution, he said, and when asked if western weapons contributed to a stronger negotiating position for Kiev, he reiterated that all nations, including “those not directly involved in this conflict,” should “work together to find a diplomatic solution” instead.
He also criticized Lithuania for restricting the movement of goods to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, again saying that “all sides” bear responsibility for ensuring that “this conflict does not escalate further.”
The interview comes ahead of an SPD committee meeting that will discuss the former chancellor’s membership in the party. The politician’s lawyer told FAZ, however, that there was no legal basis for him to be removed. In June, Schroeder said he would remain a Social Democrat, even if he was kicked out of the SPD.