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3 Sep, 2022 09:04

German ex-chancellor weighs in on Crimea

Gerhard Schroeder dismisses as nonsensical the notion that Ukraine could retake Crimea through military force
German ex-chancellor weighs in on Crimea

There is no prospect of Ukraine retaking Crimea by force, as the vast majority of the local population are ethnic Russians, former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has claimed in an interview.

Speaking to Spain’s ABC newspaper last Saturday, Schroeder said: “the idea that President Zelensky could reconquer [Crimea] militarily makes no sense.” Schroder, who led Germany from 1998 until 2005, pointed out that it was Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev who made Crimea part of the then-Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, thinking the USSR would “last as long as the Catholic Church.

Schroeder mentioned his own repeated condemnation of Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, describing it as a “mistake of the Russian Government.” However, he expressed doubt as to whether distancing himself personally from Russian President Vladimir Putin “would do any good.

There must be concessions on both sides” if the parties in the conflict are serious about peace, the ex-chancellor insisted. However, according to Schroeder, such negotiations cannot succeed without the consent of the US as “this conflict is part of a larger geopolitical confrontation.

The former chancellor believes Washington is anxious as it knows it is losing its global hegemony, with China being the main rival. Russia, however, is not on a par with the US economically, and is therefore not a serious competitor, Schroeder opined.

The 78-year-old veteran of German politics said that “Beijing is acting in this conflict in an extraordinarily rational way,” buying Russian oil and gas at a discount.

European nations, by contrast, might be making a big mistake by relying too much on the US, and could end up losing their autonomy.

However, there is currently no threat to the existence of the European Union in Schroeder’s eyes. He described as a “positive step” Sweden’s and Finland’s decision to join NATO.

Commenting on the deepening energy crisis in Germany, the ex-chancellor said that just like many families in the country, his is already feeling the impact. He called on the German government to launch the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is ready to pump gas to Europe. Schroeder warned of “huge” consequences unless his advice is heeded.