Gerhard Schröder: Washington Prevented Kyiv from Pursuing a Compromise

Due to his advocacy of diplomacy on the Ukraine issue, his refusal to denounce the Russian President and his calls for restoring good relations with Russia, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has been locked out of mainstream media coverage for most of the past 16 months. Therefore, the interview with him which Berliner Zeitung published Oct. 20 was an exception.

The former Chancellor criticized Washington’s strategy on Ukraine as “fatal”, recounting what he knew personally from March 2022, when negotiations between Ukraine and Russia were progressing. He himself has been asked by the Ukrainians to mediate between the two parties. At the time, Schröder explained, now Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov “had shown willingness to make concessions: no Ukrainian membership in NATO and the lifting on a ban of Russian language in the Donbass. But in the end, nothing happened. My impression: nothing could happen, because everything else was decided in Washington.”

In Schröder’s view, a European initiative should be launched by the French President and the German Chancellor: “Scholz and Macron should actually support a peace process in Ukraine because it’s not just an American matter, but above all a European matter… Why did Scholz and Macron not combine the arms deliveries with an offer to talk? Macron and Scholz are the only ones who can talk to Putin.” Without taking into account Russia’s security interests, he said, “peace will be difficult to achieve”.

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