By Tony Paterson in Berlin 1:17PM GMT 14 Mar 2014
Germany’s former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has embarrassed the government of his successor Angela Merkel by staunchly defending the Kremlin’s actions in the Ukraine and claiming that Russia wanted to stay “big and strong” and an equal to the United States.
Mr Schroeder was Germany’s Social Democrat leader from 1998 until 2005. He is a personal friend of Vladimir Putin and once described the Russian President as a “ flawless democrat”. He joined the board of the Russian energy giant Gazprom after losing Germany’s 2005 election.
With an outspoken defence of Russia’s intervention in the Ukraine, the former German leader has embarrassed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s grand coalition government which includes conservatives and his own Social Democrats.
While Mrs Merkel and her government have denounced the Russian intervention as a breach of international law, Mr Schroeder has leapt to the defence of the Russian president.
- Localisation : Russie
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