Recently he had come under massive criticism, but now Gerhard Schröder is intervening in the Ukraine conflict: the ex-chancellor apparently held initial talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Thursday in Moscow – but not on behalf of the federal government.
Gerhard Schröder, ex-Chancellor and current lobbyist for Russian energy companies, wants to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin for peace in the conflict with Ukraine. This was first reported by “Politico”. Accordingly, the Ukrainian government asked Schröder to mediate.
From government circles, WELT has been confirmed that Schröder’s initiative has not been coordinated with the federal government. Accordingly, there was “no order and no coordination” with the Chancellery. According to WELT information, the SPD leadership was not in the know either.
According to information from the German Press Agency, a first meeting between Schröder and Putin took place on Thursday. It was initially unclear whether more were planned.
Schröder and Putin have been friends for years. The ex-chancellor had come under massive pressure since the beginning of the war because he distanced himself neither from his well-paid posts nor from Putin. Among other things, he is the head of the board of directors of Nord Stream 2. He is also an employee of Gazprom and Rosneft. All Russian state companies.
Most recently, Schröder’s wife, So-yeon Schröder-Kim, indicated on Instagram that the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, had asked Gerhard Schröder to mediate.
Schröder-Kim could also be in Moscow at the moment. The reason for the speculation is a photo that she published on Instagram on Thursday evening.
According to the Politico report, the trip was arranged by a Kiev politician. On Monday, the Schröder-Kim couple first traveled to Istanbul, where the former Chancellor met a Ukrainian delegation. His subsequent request for a meeting with Putin is said to have been answered positively within ten minutes. Schröder and Schröder-Kim were then taken to Moscow on a Russian plane on Wednesday.
According to his own statements, Melnyk had no knowledge of an alleged mediation attempt. He was not aware of any trip by Schröder, he told the German Press Agency on Thursday. And further: “I find it difficult to imagine that my government asked Schröder to do this.”
However, Melnyk had endorsed Schröder’s attempt at mediation in an interview a week ago. “He is one of the few here in Germany who may still have a direct line to Mr. Putin. There is no one who has something like that in Germany and the other European countries,” said Melnyk “Bild”.
Olaf Scholz does not want to comment
Chancellor Olaf Scholz declined to comment on Schröder’s visit to Moscow. “I don’t want to comment on that,” the SPD politician replied to a question on the sidelines of an EU summit in Versailles, France.
In his party, the trip is greeted cautiously. SPD MP Ralf Stegner, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, hopes that Schröder will use his personal connections. “Any attempt to ensure that there is a ceasefire, that there is comprehensive humanitarian aid, in view of the catastrophe we are seeing in Ukraine” is to be welcomed, Stegner told WELT.
SPD leader Lars Klingbeil said on the ZDF program “Maybrit Illner”: “Everything that helps to end this terrible war is welcome.” Whether it will be of any use remains to be seen. In any case, every conversation situation is “something reasonable first”.
SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich recently supported the party leadership’s urgent appeals to the former chancellor to clearly distance himself from Putin and his war of aggression against Ukraine. A letter from party chairmen Klingbeil and Saskia Esken together with eight former SPD leaders to Schröder was described by Mützenich on Thursday as a “clear signal”.
According to him, there will be no separate appeal from the parliamentary group to Schröder. “Here the parliamentary group has no special opinion, but also no special measures to decide,” said Mützenich.