Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder confirmed that he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Moscow in late July. In an interview with the German magazine Stern, he said that Russia wants diplomatic talks with Ukraine.
"The good news is that the Kremlin wants a negotiated solution. There was already a negotiated approach to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, for example, in Istanbul in March," he recalled and praised Turkey for the agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain. This agreement, in his opinion, "may be gradually expanded" to a ceasefire agreement.
Schroeder called the war in Ukraine a mistake by the Russian government. At the same time, he considered absurd the possibility that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "will take back Crimea by military means," and said that "this region is Russian."
Speaking about his friendship with Putin, Schroeder ruled out that there could be a discord between them. "Will personal distancing from Vladimir Putin really benefit anyone? I've made decisions, I'm sticking to them, and I've made it clear: maybe I can be useful again. So why should I apologize?"
During the conversation, he also put forward several theses of "Putin's propaganda". One of them is the launch of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which, according to Schroeder, will be a solution to the gas crisis. "If you don't want to use Nord Stream 2, you're going to have to face the consequences. And they will be huge for Germany," the former German chancellor said.
Gerhard Schroeder arrived in Moscow on July 26. He stayed in a hotel near the headquarters of the Russian oil conglomerate Rosneft. Schroeder had to leave Rosneft’s board of directors in May because of the threat of falling under EU sanctions. The former chancellor claimed that he came to Moscow for vacation, but his wife revealed the purpose of the trip - negotiations on energy supplies from Russia to Germany. The German government said it did not coordinate his visit.
Deutsche Welle reports that Schroeder’s expulsion from the Social Democratic Party of Germany is currently underway because of his closeness to Putin and ties with Russian state-owned companies. Earlier, the Bundestag budget committee stripped him of part of the privileges prescribed by law (as a former chancellor) for having too close ties with Russia.
Moscow's initiatives for negotiations mentioned by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder can only mean an invitation to surrender, said the adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration Mykhailo Podolyak.
"With one hand, Russia raises the degree of terror committing new barbaric crimes, with the other - invites to capitulation. Schroeder is a famous herald of the empire and a voice at the royal court. If Moscow wants a dialogue, the ball is in its field," Podolyak said.
Podolyak added that negotiations can take place only after a ceasefire and the full withdrawal of Russian troops.