German Ex-Chancellor Schröder in Moscow for Ukraine peace bid: reports

Germany's former chancellor Gerhard Schröder reportedly met Vladimir Putin on Thursday in Moscow in a bid to get the Russian leader to end his invasion of Ukraine. 

German Ex-Chancellor Schröder in Moscow for Ukraine peace bid: reports
Gerhard Schröder in Berlin in December. Photo: dpa | Christoph Soeder

News outlet Politico, which did not name its sources, said the meeting was coordinated with Kyiv and that Schroeder had travelled to Russia via Turkey. 

The German government led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who like Schroeder is a Social Democrat (SPD), was not informed about the trip, government sources told AFP. 

Bild daily, also citing unnamed sources, said that Schröder had told only his closest confidants about the meeting. 

SPD co-leader Lars Klinbeil said on broadcaster ZDF that his party did not know anything about the trip, but added that “anything that helps to end this terrible war is welcome.”

Schröder’s wife Soyeon Schröder-Kim posted late Thursday on Instagram a photograph of herself with eyes closed and hands clasped like in a prayer, with the Kremlin in the background. 

Schröder, who was Germany’s chancellor from 1998 to 2005, has come under fire at home and abroad over his refusal to resign from his job as chairman of the board of directors at Russian oil giant Rosneft despite Moscow’s assault of Ukraine. 

The 77-year-old is also chairman of the shareholders’ committee at Gazprom’s subsidiary Nord Stream, and is due to join the supervisory board of Gazprom itself in June. 

Schröder has issued a statement condemning the invasion as unjustified but saying that dialogue must continue with Moscow. 

Furious over his refusal to cut his Russian ties loose, his aides have walked out on him. 

Scholz has also come out publicly to urge Schröder to leave his Russian jobs, saying it is “not correct” for him to hold those offices. 

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EU lawmakers urge sanctions on Germany’s Schröder over links to Russia

EU lawmakers on Thursday called on the bloc to slap sanctions on German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder and other Europeans who refuse to give up lucrative board seats at Russian firms.

EU lawmakers urge sanctions on Germany's Schröder over links to Russia

The demand was made in a non-binding resolution approved overwhelmingly by the European Parliament focused on strengthening the European Union’s response to Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

Despite a huge outcry in Germany, Schröder has stubbornly refused to relinquish posts with Russian energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom following the Kremlin’s invasion.

The parliament’s resolution “strongly demands” Schröder follow others such as French ex-premier Francois Fillon in quitting their lucrative roles at Russian firms.

And it called on member states “to extend the list of individuals targeted by EU sanctions to the European members of the boards of major Russian companies, and politicians who continue to receive Russian money”.

READ ALSO: Germany set to strip ex-Chancellor’s perks over Russia ties

The call from the parliament came as Germany’s ruling coalition stripped Schröder of official privileges like chauffeurs over his obstinate refusal to break off the ties.

“The coalition parliamentary groups have drawn consequences from the behaviour of former chancellor and lobbyist Gerhard Schroeder in view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the parliament decided.

“The office of the former chancellor shall be suspended,” it added.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who like Schröder is from the Social Democratic Party, has also publicly urged the former leader to give up his Russian jobs, but to no avail.

Schröder, who was Germany’s chancellor from 1998 to 2005, is chairman of the board of directors of Russian oil giant Rosneft.

The 78-year-old is also due to join the supervisory board gas giant Gazprom in June.

The gas group is behind the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia, which has been halted by Scholz in one of the West’s first responses to the war in Ukraine.

The EU has slapped an unprecedented barrage of sanctions against Moscow over its war on Ukraine and is currently trying to hammer out an embargo on Russian oil.

All sanctions have to be signed off by the bloc’s 27 members states.

READ ALSO: Gerhard Schröder: The ex-German Chancellor turned public pariah