By Oliver Towfigh Nia
BERLIN (AA) – Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said he wants to continue direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine.
“I’ll be on the phone with Putin again – because we need to talk to each other,” Scholz told Berlin-based Tagesspiegel newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
“It’s up to Putin to withdraw troops from Ukraine and end this terrible, senseless war that has already cost the lives of hundreds of thousands,” he added.
The situation will not change as long as Russia continues the war with undiminished aggression, he said.
Although previous phone calls with Putin were “not impolite in tone,” the Russian leader made it clear again and again that he wanted “to incorporate parts of his neighboring country by force,” which was “unacceptable,” the German leader said.
“Sometimes there were also specific questions about the exchange of prisoners, grain exports from Ukraine, and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” he said.
“But it’s important to me that the talks always come back to the actual topic: How is the world getting out of this terrible situation? The prerequisite for this is clear: the withdrawal of Russian troops,” he added.
Scholz warned again that NATO should not be dragged into a war with Moscow.
“A German chancellor who takes his oath of office seriously must do everything to ensure that Russia’s war against Ukraine does not turn into a war between Russia and NATO,” he stressed, adding that he will not “allow such an escalation.”
Scholz was referring to comments by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who caused a stir this week by saying that Germany is “already at war with Russia.”