HANDOUT - 24.07.2022, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Winterberg: ZDF-Moderatorin Shakuntala Banerjee spricht beim «Berlin-Direkt» ZDF-Sommerinterview mit dem CDU-Vorsitzenden Friedrich Merz. Foto: Marius Becker/ZDF/dpa - ACHTUNG: Nur zur redaktionellen Verwendung im Zusammenhang mit der aktuellen Berichterstattung über das ZDF Sommerinterview und nur mit vollständiger Nennung des vorstehenden Credits. +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

CDU leader Friedrich Merz has rejected the demands of Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer for the maintenance of energy supplies from Russia and a freeze on the Ukraine war. “That’s not the opinion of the Union,” said Merz on Sunday in the ZDF “summer interview”, which will be broadcast in the evening. He rejected the fact that there was an East-West gap in the party’s positioning towards Russia.

Regarding Kretschmer’s call for the Ukraine conflict to be frozen, Merz said that there were “of course discussions about this topic” in the party. However, the party has “a very clear opinion” on this and there are also board decisions on this. Merz echoed the Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas with the words: “Energy may be expensive, but freedom is priceless.”

On Tuesday, Kretschmer referred to necessary deliveries of raw materials from Russia and demanded that a joint attempt be made to “influence” Putin. Germany should therefore work to ensure that this war is “frozen”.

Similar to Merz, CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja said: “Michael Kretschmer’s statements do not reflect the majority position of the CDU,” he told the editorial network Germany. “We don’t have the impression that Vladimir Putin wants to negotiate at the moment.”