Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says Russia is ready to negotiate an end to the war in Ukraine. After a visit to Moscow last week, Schröder sees an opportunity for a truce.
The Kremlin, he said, is willing to negotiate if three conditions are met: Ukraine must drop its claims to Crimea, as well as NATO aspirations. In addition, the pro-Russian population in the eastern Donbass region should be given special rights, although the area may remain part of Ukraine.
Schröder mentioned a model similar to Switzerland, with cantons having relative autonomy. Whether Putin actually agrees to these terms remains to be seen.
Schröder is, among other things, chairman of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. He was also nominated to the board of Russian energy giant Gazprom earlier this year. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has not prompted him to break that relationship.
However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a "mistake," Schröder admitted to the German weekly Stern. He added that the Kremlin is ready to negotiate after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.
"That the Kremlin is open to a negotiated solution is good news," said Schröder. He suggested that Turkey act as an intermediary, as it should already allow grain exports through the Black Sea.
Schröder claims that a gas crisis in the EU countries can be prevented if the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is commissioned, as was initially planned before the Russian invasion. The former chancellor does not believe that the south of Europe will save energy to help Germany, which is so dependent on Russian gas.
The views of the German former chancellor are increasingly a problem for the German ruling SPD of the current chancellor Olaf Scholz. Schröder is still a member of the SPD, but the party plans to expel him. The increasingly angry German parliament wants to strip the ex-chancellor of his parliamentary privileges because of his ongoing warm ties with Russia.