A German politician drew criticism Sunday for calling for Russian gas supplies to be resumed as soon as the war in Ukraine is over.
Michael Kretschmer, premier of the eastern German state of Saxony, has previously courted 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 the Bild am Sonntag newspaper where he called for the stalled Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to be given the go-ahead again after Russian missiles stop flying and the guns are 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 had been operating before the war, Nord Stream 2 was shelved by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the aftermath of Russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine despite having been only recently completed.
Last month, the EU said both pipelines suffered sabotage, though Brussels stopped short of pointing a finger at Russia. Swedish authorities have refused a Russian request to participate in their investigation.
Moscow had already dramatically reduced gas supplies to Germany at the time of the pipeline blasts.
Kretschmer told the newspaper, "We need long-term contracts for LNG deliveries from the USA, Qatar and other Arab countries," referring to liquified natural gas that is helping to 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 gas from Russia again," he added.
Kretschmer urges diplomatic intervention
Kretschmer, a politician from the center-right Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, again called for an end to the Ukraine war through a joint diplomatic effort by the EU, the US, China, India and Japan.
"There is no single reason why Ukraine should give up even one square meter of its territory," he said, adding that war damage must be compensated by Russia and war criminals must be held accountable.
"You have to go into peace talks with this attitude. We must no longer resolve these issues on the battlefield. Europe needs to put more pressure on peace talks."
Kretschmer also expressed skepticism about the impact of EU sanctions against Russia, suggesting they were hurting the German economy.
What has been 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 for the German politician to Kyiv was rescinded by the country's former ambassador to Berlin, Andrij Melnyk.
Earlier in 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 Greens Party member of the European Parliament and Heinrich Böll Foundation president Jan Philipp Albrecht.
"The recent statements by Kretschmer raise the question of the Union's relationship to the regime Putin on the one hand and to a common Europe on the other.," he tweeted, adding, "They show how fatal it would be if the CDU were currently in the federal government."
Kretschmer was also the target of an attempted assassination plot by anti-vaxxers last year.
mm/ar (AFP, dpa)
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