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The demand of the social-democratic foreign politicians is sensitive insofar as Eastern European NATO and EU members already see and reject the talks between Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and French President Emmanuel Macron with Russian President Vladimir Putin as encouragement for the warlord in the Kremlin. This could certainly apply to German diplomatic initiatives to end the war from the Foreign Ministry. During his visit to Lithuania, Scholz defended the continuation of his contacts against the criticism spread there.

Stegner and Müller are aware that their proposal can also provoke opposition. Stegner explained that he was familiar with the accusation that every diplomatic negotiation legitimizes Russian territorial gains. But no negotiation should bypass Ukraine, whose government ultimately has to decide for itself whether it wants to make compromises and if so, which ones.

“It is unacceptable that Germany, as the largest country in Europe, is not preparing for a diplomatic option, of course not on its own, but in coordination with France and eastern EU and NATO members such as Poland or the Baltic states,” he said former deputy federal chairman of the SPD. Stegner called French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that the West should not humiliate Russia “not particularly skilful and clever”. But it shows “that something is missing in the West’s line-up – the effort to find a solution through negotiation”.

Foreign Minister Baerbock traveled back to Berlin from Pakistan on Wednesday under isolation conditions because of her corona infection. On the flight, the Greens politician used a separate cabin (“private office”) behind the cockpit of the government aircraft. Baerbock had to break off her trip on Tuesday after a quick and a PCR test shortly after the start in the capital Islamabad. Originally she wanted to travel to Greece and Turkey.