Skip to comments.German government distances itself from Schroeder after his Putin meeting
Posted on 04/29/2014 9:44:59 PM PDT by wetphoenix
BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government distanced itself from former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Tuesday amid an outpouring of media criticism after pictures were published showing him embracing Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg.
The pictures come at a time of high tension between the West and Russia over Ukraine and also underscore German ambivalence about imposing new sanctions on Moscow, despite Chancellor Angela Merkel's criticism of Putin's actions in the crisis.
A spokesman for Schroeder confirmed he was in Russia's second city on Monday for a shareholders' meeting of Nord Stream AG, the Russian-German pipeline joint venture he chairs. But spokesman Albrecht Funk would not say why Schroeder met Putin.
German media reports said the grainy pictures of Schroeder locked in a bear hug with Putin were taken late on Monday evening outside the Yusupov Palace, where he was attending a belated celebration in honor of his 70th birthday on April 7.
"He does not represent the German government," a senior German government official said when asked about the pictures. "It should be clear to everyone that Mr. Schroeder left active politics some time ago."
Germany, which relies heavily on Russia for natural gas supplies, has been trying to defuse tensions over Ukraine and is seen in the West as reluctant to ratchet up sanctions against Moscow. Opinion polls show Germans oppose trade sanctions.
On Tuesday, the European Union imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 15 Russians and Ukrainians. The United States widened sanctions on allies of Putin on Monday.
Sometimes criticized as Putin's apologist, Schroeder, a Social Democrat whose party is now in coalition with Merkel's conservatives, has been the Russian leader's best friend in the West since both were ostracized by U.S. President George W. Bush for opposing the 2003 Iraq invasion.
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An inconvenient truth apparently "forgotten".
In an interesting aside, it seems that the Crimea gets about 80% of it’s water and electricity from the Ukraine. Either they will have to make nice with the Ukraine, rerun the lines to Russia, or end up with parts of Ukraine conquered.
yep, oil will take a backseat to no water or the threat of no oil will make the water flow or .... the check will be cashed on both Ukraine and then russia.
Whenever the Germans embrace the Russians, Poland ends up going away for a few years.