It would be “commendable” if the former German chancellor and friend of Vladimir Putin, Gerhard Schroeder, would start talks with Moscow on the resumption of gas flow through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, said the head of the German government, Olaf Scholz. He also said that Putin is a war criminal and that the war with Ukraine is a “criminal war”. He announced that Germany would prosecute all war crimes for which Putin is responsible, who breaks the concluded agreements.
During the so-called summer press conference, the chancellor on Thursday for nearly two hours answered questions from the media, mainly about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences, as well as the issue of energy security German and gas supplies from Russia.
The head of government was asked, inter alia, on what conditions he would be willing to re-admit Putin to Germany. – As for Putin, it is clear that this is a war that must be ended. Russia attacked its neighbors. What should happen now is Russia should realize that it has to come to an agreement with Ukraine and that there will be no dictated terms of peace, Scholz said.
The chancellor was also asked about the assessment of the actions of the Russian leader Putin. He confirmed that he considered him a “war criminal”. – It’s a criminal war. We will prosecute all specifically identifiable crimes, emphasized Scholz, adding that “Putin is responsible for this war because he himself has annulled the agreements made, according to which one cannot simply attack a neighboring country.”
Scholz on Schroeder’s mediation activities
As for former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his mediation efforts with Russia and Putin, the Olaf Scholz he stated briefly that he “didn’t know” if they were useful.
At the same time, he said it would be “commendable” if Schroeder would start talks with Moscow about a refurbished turbine currently in Germany, which the Russian authorities cited as the reason for their decision to stop gas flow through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
Since June, Russia has limited gas supplies via Nord Stream 1, which Gazprom explained by the lack of a turbine serviced in Canada, and accused Siemens Energy of not providing the necessary documents. Siemens firmly rejected these allegations.
Schroeder told German media last week that he had recently met with Putin. This was also confirmed by the Kremlin. The former social democratic chancellor told the press that the Russian authorities were ready to talk to Ukraine. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Putin told Schroder that talks were only possible on Russian terms.
Schroeder, who headed the German government from 1998 to 2005, is considered a close friend of Putin. For years, he held positions on supervisory boards of Russian state-owned energy companies. In May, three months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Schroeder resigned from sitting on the supervisory board of Russia’s Rosneft, and also rejected his appointment as a member of the Gazprom supervisory board. However, he still did not dissociate himself from Putin himself.
“It’s a serious time”
Speaking about the energy situation ahead of winter, Scholz announced that “a serious time has come.” He assured that the gas tanks were better and better filled, he also referred to the additional production of electricity from coal. He also confirmed that the question of temporarily extending the operation of the three remaining nuclear power plants is still under consideration.
As the chancellor added, the government “is concerned with economic modernization with a view to dealing with climate change“and” the transition to renewable energy sources is even more urgent now. “He confirmed that” Germany wants to be CO2 neutral by 2045 “.
Asked if “it hurts the fact that German companies are still paying for gas from Russia,” Scholz replied: “It was rightly decided that there would be no gas sanctions.” The sanctions should not harm Germany and other countries more than Russia itself.
When asked if he is afraid of social tensions in the face of pay rises energy prices and the deterioration of the situation in the country, Scholz replied: – No, I do not think there will be unrest in this country. This is because we are a welfare state, and help in this situation must be effective. He announced that “citizens and businesses should not be left alone with the burden of the crisis.”
The planned LNG gas terminals are to be ready soon, and the first of them will be included in the system this winter. – Due to the situation on the world market it may be a bit more expensive than before, but it is a way to ensure sufficient gas supply – informed the German chancellor.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / CLEMENS BILAN