A German politician was criticized on Sunday for calling for the resumption of Russian gas supplies as soon as the war in Ukraine ends.
Michael Kretschmer, the premier of the eastern German state of Saxony, has previously attracted controversy.
In July, he said the geopolitical fallout was placing a significant burden on Germany and called for the conflict to be “frozen” to give diplomacy a chance.
What did Kretschmer say?
Kretschmer gave an interview to Bild am Sonntag newspaper where he called for the stalled Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to be re-approved after Russian missiles stop flying and guns fall silent in Ukraine.
Nord Stream 2 is one of two pipelines built to deliver Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea. While Nord Stream 1 was operational before the war, Nord Stream 2 was abandoned by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz following Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, despite having only recently been completed.
Last month, the EU said both pipelines had been sabotaged, although Brussels did not stop pointing the finger at Russia. Swedish authorities have refused Russia’s request to participate in their investigation.
Moscow had already drastically cut gas supplies to Germany at the time of the pipeline explosion.
Kretschmer told the newspaper: “We need long-term contracts for LNG supplies from the US, Qatar and other Arab countries,” referring to the liquefied natural gas that helps replace Russian supplies.
“In addition, we must finally develop our own natural gas in the North Sea. And when the war is over, we should use Russian gas again,” he added.
Kretschmer calls for diplomatic intervention
Kretschmer, a politician from the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, again called for an end to the war in Ukraine through a joint diplomatic effort by the EU, the US, China, India and Japan.
“There is not a single reason why Ukraine should give up even one square meter of its territory,” he said, adding that war damages must be compensated by Russia and war criminals must be held accountable.
“You have to go into the peace talks with this attitude. We don’t have to solve these problems on the battlefield anymore. Europe has to put more pressure on the peace talks.”
Kretschmer also expressed skepticism about the impact of EU sanctions against Russia, suggesting they are hurting the German economy.
What was the reaction to Kretschmer’s comments?
The last time Kretschmer made similar comments calling for an end to the war, he was accused by Ukraine of playing into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An official visit of the German politician to Kyiv was canceled by the former ambassador of the country in Berlin, Andrij Melnyk.
At the beginning of the war, Kretschmer publicly opposed the delivery of German heavy weapons to Ukraine.
His latest comments were criticized by several German politicians on social media, including former Green Party member of the European Parliament and chairman of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Jan Philipp Albrecht.
“Kretschmer’s recent statements raise the question of the Union’s relationship with the Putin regime on the one hand and with a common Europe on the other,” he tweeted, adding: “They show how fatal it would be if the CDU be in the present. in the federal government.”
Kretschmer was also the target of an assassination attempt by anti-vaxxers last year.
mm/year (AFP, dpa)