Once Russia ends the conflict in Ukraine, it should be given a chance to do business with Germany again, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday. He repeated that Moscow must and will not win, however.
A Russian government that ends the hostilities “needs a chance to restart economic cooperation, in another time when this is possible,” Scholz said in Berlin, at a meeting of the Eastern Committee for German Business (OA), a trade association focused on relations with Eastern Europe. “Now is not that time.”
“At the moment, the relationships we have are being scaled back,” Scholz said, according to the weekly Zeit. The EU is “tightening the sanctions” now, but Russia will remain the largest country on the European continent after the conflict is resolved. “It is therefore very important that we make preparations for this time.”
Scholz described the current conflict as an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to re-create a Russian Empire that is destroying the country’s future instead, and accused Moscow of atrocities against the Ukrainian civilians. Russia must not win “and Russian will not win, either,” he told the business group.
Berlin’s determination to ditch Russian energy imports – pushed mainly by Scholz’s Green coalition partners – created troubles for Germany even before the gas deliveries were disrupted by the sabotage on Nord Stream pipelines in September. Germans are now trying to make up the shortages from elsewhere, though unsuccessfully.