Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said that during his meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, the Russian President expressed his readiness for negotiations on Ukraine.
"The good news is that the Kremlin wants to find a solution through negotiations,” Schroeder said in an interview with Stern magazine. Although the original purpose of the trip to Moscow was to discuss Germany's energy security, it was impossible to avoid the topic of the Ukrainian crisis, Schroeder added.
Schroeder also spoke about the exports of gain from Ukrainian ports, the agreement on which was earlier reached in Istanbul. Gerhard Schroeder believes that this deal between Ukraine and Russia may lead to a ceasefire, Stern reports.
Schroeder also noted that solutions to other critical problems could be found later. In his opinion, the issue of the status of the Crimean peninsula should be resolved.
"Maybe not in 99 years, like in Hong Kong, but in the next generation,” Schroeder said jokingly.
Thus, the former chancellor of Germany showed that he did not change his views. The politician did not join the opinion of the West, the essence of which is to tighten anti-Russian sanctions and continue supplying arms to Ukraine.
Earlier, the former head of Germany said that Kyiv's idea to recapture the Crimea by military means was absurd.
"Who seriously believes that Russian President Putin can ever give up Crimea again?” the politician asked rhetorically.
Russia, as before, is ready to solve the Ukrainian problem through diplomacy, but on its own terms, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday, August 3.
"Here it is just appropriate to recall once again that these conditions were agreed upon in Istanbul,” he said.
Kyiv refused to continue negotiations and fulfill the already agreed conditions, Peskov added.
"The Ukrainian side knows our conditions well. One way or another, they will be ensured,” Peskov stressed.
Speaking about the meeting between Putin and Schroeder, Peskov said that the Kremlin had a recording of the conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and ex-Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder. The recording was made in case someone "decides to play" with its content, the Kremlin spokesman said, TASS reports.
It also became known that the former German politician, at a meeting with the Russian president in Moscow, evinced hypothetical interest in the possibility of launching Nord Stream 2.
Gerhard Schroeder also said that he would not apologise for his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the crisis in Ukraine.
Schroeder stressed that he came to certain conclusions in connection with the situation in Ukraine and continued to adhere to them. His friendship with Vladimir Putin could benefit everyone, he added.
"Will personal distancing from Vladimir Putin really do anyone any good? I made certain decisions and I support them. And I made it clear: maybe I can be useful again. Why should I apologize for it?" Schroeder said, RTL reports.
The ex-chancellor noted that the Kremlin was ready for negotiations to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, but neither Berlin nor Paris were making efforts to establish a dialogue.
"I don't want to take the mediation job away from anyone in the government. But why should I stop negotiations that can be legally possible and are not fraught with trouble for me and my family?” Schroeder said.
Germany's former chancellor endorsed his successor Angela Merkel's push to block Ukraine's accession to NATO. There is an alternative to Kyiv's membership in the alliance in the form of non-bloc neutrality.
Schroeder visited Russia on July 26. He stopped near the headquarters of Rosneft and initially claimed that he had arrived in Moscow on vacation.
The Kremlin did not comment on whether Schroeder had any contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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The Russian forces destroyed a column of NATO armoured vehicles that had been delivered to the Ukrainian army.