Former Chancellor Schröder says Russia is seeking a negotiated solution to the conflict and accuses Germany of not doing enough | International
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Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants a “negotiated solution” to the war in Ukraine and has accused Berlin of not doing enough to try to end the conflict. In an interview published Wednesday by the magazine Stern and the NTV news network, the former president, who met last week in Moscow with Putin, insists on activating the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, whose entry into operation was suspended after the start of the offensive by Kremlin troops. Shortly after Schröder’s statements were released, Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz blamed Moscow for the delays in transporting the turbine that Gazprom is claiming for Nord Stream 1 and which, according to the gas company, prevent it from fully operating. performance.
Schröder, who governed Germany between 1998 and 2005 and has recently become an international pariah for his ties to Moscow, describes in the interview the agreement reached to unblock Ukrainian grain exports as “successful” and points out that “it may be time to start working towards a truce.” The former Social Democratic chancellor, who admits that last week he met with Putin during a “holiday” trip to Moscow, maintains that “the good news is that the Kremlin wants a negotiated solution”. The former president, who until a few months ago held various positions on the board of directors of companies controlled by the Kremlin such as the oil company Rosneft or a subsidiary of Gazprom, accuses the German — and French — government of “not doing enough” in the interview. in the search for a negotiated solution to the war in Ukraine.
The former chancellor also gave his opinion on the current controversy between Berlin and Moscow over the supply of gas through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. Gazprom completely suspended supplies for 10 days in July, arguing that maintenance tasks were necessary and the lack of a turbine . Precisely this Wednesday, Scholz accused Russia of blocking the delivery of the turbine claimed by the gas giant: “It is ready to be delivered at any time. It is only necessary for Gazprom to ask for it”. However, Schröder blamed Siemens for the lack of gas supply and promoted the start-up of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, paralyzed by the German Executive after Russia recognized the independence of the rebel provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk and launched the invasion on Ukraine, at the end of last February. “If things get really tough, there is this pipeline, and with the two Nord Stream pipelines there would be no supply problems for German industry and households,” says Schröder. “Otherwise, the consequences have to be reckoned with, and they will be huge in Germany as well,” he adds.
Russia resumed supply through Nord Stream 1 on July 21 after 10 days of maintenance work, although only at 20% of its capacity, and since June it had already operated a volume less than half of what it transports at full capacity. A limited pumping that Russia insists on justifying that Western sanctions make it impossible to return the turbine, an argument that the European Union and Berlin reject. Moscow alleges “technical problems” caused by the lack of that turbine, something that, according to what Scholz has declared next to said piece in a Siemens factory in Mülheim an der Ruhr (North Rhine-Westphalia, western Germany), “does not answer the truth.”
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During his statements at the Siemens factory, the Social Democratic chancellor left open the possibility of prolonging the use of nuclear power plants to resolve the energy crisis, although he recalled that the three still in operation are only relevant for electricity supply. “It may make sense,” Scholz said, about the possibility of postponing the disconnection of the last three nuclear power plants in the country, which according to the nuclear blackout schedule should take place at the end of this year.
The construction of the first Nord Stream gas pipeline arose from an agreement between Putin and Schröder, a few months before the German politician left power. The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the formation of Schröder and Scholz, is analyzing 17 demands promoted by local groupings of the party to expel the former chancellor from the party. The SPD is expected to make a decision on those demands next week.
Schröder, who again described the war as a “Russian government mistake”, insists in the interview that he does not see why he should apologize or why he should break his ties with Putin. “If the really relevant problems are analyzed, they are solvable,” says the former foreign minister in the interview. For example, he said that it was “absurd” for Ukraine to consider militarily reconquering the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014. However, the Social Democrat commented that the situation was “very complicated” in Donbas, the region made up of the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk and that Russia is close to total control. “For this, we will have to find a solution based on the Swiss cantonal model,” he said. “Do we really want to resolve the conflict? So there must be concessions on both sides”, he sentenced.
From Ukraine, Mijailo Podoliak, adviser to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, reacted on Twitter to Schröder’s statements, accusing him of being a spokesman for “the tsar’s court.” “If Moscow wants dialogue, the ball is in its court. First, a ceasefire. Later [diálogo] constructive,” Podoliak posted.
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