German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has warned of growing estrangement between the West and Russia and the dire consequences this could have for global peace.

In an interview with the newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Steinmeier discussed the deepening “alienation” between Russia and the West, particularly in the wake of the “Skripal case,” but criticized attempts to demonize Russia as a nation.

“We can’t declare the whole of Russia, the country and its people, as our enemy,” he said, warning there was “too much at stake.”

Steinmeier also decried the lack of trust between Russia and the West and underscored the urgent need to counter the paramount importance of bilateral attempts to countering the accelerating estrangement between the two.

Mentioning the armed conflict in Syria, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that a speedy agreement between the US and Russian presidents holds the key to a de-escalation of tensions in the war-torn Arab country.

“Of course you can’t do it without the regional neighbors in the end, but everything begins with the US and Russia,” Steinmeier told Bild am Sonntag. Putin and Trump owe it to the world to take the first step,” he added.

On Monday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that despite complicated relations with Moscow, Berlin was all set to continue a dialogue with Moscow.

He also mentioned the importance of Russia’s participation in the efforts to end the war in Syria.

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