Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder attends a July 2020 legislative hearing in Berlin. (Photo by Getty Images)
Germanys former chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, has claimed that the United States prohibited Ukraine from conducting peace negotiations with Russia in March 2022, although the parties had a chance to agree to end the conflict.
Schroder said in an interview published by Germanys Berliner Zeitung newspaper on Friday that while representatives of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky were open to making concessions on key issues such as renouncing efforts to join NATO, the US did not agree to peace talks.
"The Ukrainians did not agree to peace because they were not allowed to. They first had to ask the Americans about everything they discussed," said Schroder, who was asked to help mediate the peace negotiations between Ukrainian and Russian officials in Istanbul weeks after Moscow launched its military operation in February 2022.
"My impression is that nothing could happen because everything else was decided in Washington."
He said Washingtons strategy was "fatal" which resulted in closer ties between Russia and China.
"Now, it is the case that two actors, China and Russia, who are limited by the USA, are joining forces. Americans believe they are strong enough to keep both sides in check. In my humble opinion, this is a mistake. Just look how torn the American side is now. Look at the chaos in Congress."
He also slammed Washingtons allies in Western Europe who "failed" to seize the opportunity to push for peace in March 2022.
At the time, he added, Zelensky was open to compromise on Crimea and breakaway territories in the Donbas region. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian troops have been killed as Western military aid prolongs the conflict.
"The arms deliveries are not a solution for eternity, but no one wants to talk," Schroeder said.
"[German Chancellor Olaf] Scholz and [French President Emmanuel] Macron should actually support a peace process in Ukraine because its not just an American matter but above all a European matter."
He added that one of the justifications for arming Ukraine - alleged Russian expansionism - had no basis in reality.
"This fear of the Russians coming is absurd," Schroeder said.
However, Schroeder added, "Western leaders must understand that no matter who is in power in Moscow, Russia wont allow either Ukraine or Georgia to be absorbed by NATO" and without accepting this fact, "peace will be difficult to achieve."
US presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. previously made a similar statement. In June, he said that the United States wanted to derail peace talks between Russia and Ukraine in order to prolong the conflict by sending former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Ukraine to sabotage efforts to resolve the Ukrainian crisis.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his recent remarks on Wednesday said that Western officials had hinted at greater readiness to hold negotiations over Ukraine, in particular the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, but demanded "more practical steps."
Senior officials in Moscow have accused the West of becoming directly involved in the Ukraine war by supplying the country with weapons and training its soldiers, warning that such measures will not stop Russian troops from defending its objectives and that arming Kiev would only prolong the war.