Gerhard Schröder: Putin's puppet – or potential mediator? - DW News.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said in a German media interview published on Wednesday that he was in Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin last week.

Schröder told the magazine Stern and broadcasters RTL/ntv that he believed the recent deal brokered by the UN and Turkey to allow Ukrainian grain exports to leave the Black Sea could become the first step towards talks on a ceasefire — even though neither of the warring factions has indicated this.

The day after the deal was signed, Russian missiles struck the port of Odesa, and last week Ukrainian agribusiness tycoon Oleksiy Vadatursky was killed in a strike on his home near Mykolaiv.

"The good news is that the Kremlin wants a negotiated solution," Schröder said in the interview. The Kremlin also later confirmed Schröder's visit.

Schröder, a Social Democrat and German chancellor from 1998 to 2005, has regained modern notoriety via his contentious positions on the boards of Russian state-owned energy companies. He chairs the board of the Nord Stream pipeline company.

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