Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder greets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2018. Schroeder has called Putin a close personal friend.
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, says he is concerned over the energy crisis sparked by Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and asked for the Kremlin chief to explain how he sees the situation and whether the Nord Stream 2 pipeline could be put into operation.
The Kremlin said in a recap of a meeting the two had last week that Schroeder discussed obstacles to gas supplies to Europe after a recent cut that Moscow blames on a turbine in maintenance. Germany says it is ready to be shipped but that the Russians have yet to file paperwork needed to send the turbine back.
"He [Schroder] asked Putin to clarify the situation and explain the position of the Russian side on the unfolding situation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists in Moscow on August 3.
Peskov said that Putin told Schroeder that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was ready to be used. He also claimed that Russian gas supplies have fallen to around 30 million cubic meters per day from 167 million cubic meters after Poland sanctioned the Yamal-Europe pipeline and Ukraine stopped flows via one of the routes.
Schroeder, chancellor from 1998 to 2005, has criticized Russia's war in Ukraine but also has refused to condemn Putin, whom he still calls a close personal friend.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was recently completed to deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany, was heavily criticized for deepening Germany's dependence on Russian energy. The pipeline has been blocked from going into operation since Russia's invasion.