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UKRAINE

German Chancellor Scholz ‘planning trip to Kyiv’

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is to visit war-torn Ukraine before the G7 summit at the end of June, according to a German media report.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate lit up in the colours of the Ukraine flag in May.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate lit up in the colours of the Ukraine flag in May. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler

Scholz is planning a joint trip with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Bild am Sonntag reported, citing Ukrainian and French government circles.

According to the newspaper, the governments in Paris and Berlin have been negotiating a joint visit to Ukraine capital Kyiv for some time, but Macron wanted to wait until after the French parliamentary elections.

The visit will likely take place before a summit of G7 leaders being held at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps, which is due to start on June 26th. 

Scholz, Macron and Draghi want to send a signal of European unity with their trip, sources said.

At the moment, however, both the German and French governments have not confirmed the report.

Several world leaders – including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – have visited Ukraine since the start of the war, but Scholz has so far not made the trip. 

He was caught in a row earlier this year after German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier admitted he had offered to go to Ukraine with other EU leaders, but this was “not wanted in Kyiv” due to his perceived links to Russia during his time in government. 

Scholz said that this stood in the way of his plans to go to Kyiv. Ukraine officials then accused Scholz of sulking

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky later invited both Scholz and Steinmeier, who belong to the Social Democrats (SPD), to Ukraine. 

READ ALSO: Zelensky invites Scholz and Steinmeier to visit Ukraine 

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) became the first cabinet minister to visit Ukraine when she spent time in the suburb of Bucha in May

Other German ministers, including Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) and CDU leader Friedrich Merz, have also visited the war-hit country. 

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POLITICS

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has sued the German parliament for removing some of his official post-retirement perks over his links to Russian energy giants, his lawyer said Friday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Schröder, 78, has come under heavy criticism for his proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin and involvement with state-backed energy companies.

The decision to suspend Schröder’s taxpayer-funded office and staff in May was “contrary to the rule of law”, Michael Nagel, told public broadcaster NDR.

Schröder “heard of everything through the media”, Nagel said, noting that the Social Democrat had asked for a hearing before the budget committee responsible but was not given the chance to express himself.

READ ALSO: Germany strips Schröder of official perks over Russia ties

Schröder’s lawyers filed the complaint with an administrative Berlin court, a spokesman for the court confirmed.

In its decision to strip him of the perks, the committee concluded that Schröder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, “no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office”.

Most of Schröder’s office staff had already quit before the final ruling was made.

Despite resigning from the board of Russian oil company Rosneft and turning down a post on the supervisory board of gas giant Gazprom in May, Schröder has maintained close ties with the Kremlin.

The former chancellor met Putin in July, after which he said Moscow was ready for a “negotiated solution” to the war in Ukraine — comments branded as “disgusting” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Last week, the Social Democrats concluded that Schröder would be allowed to remain a member after he was found not have breached party rules over his ties to the Russian President.

Schröder’s stance on the war and solo diplomacy has made him an embarrassment to the SPD, which is also the party of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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