Former German Chancellor and head of the Nord Stream AG shareholders’ committee Gerhard Schroeder said in an interview with Spiegel that the return of Crimea to Russia was due to the expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance.
Schroeder recalled that before the events of 2014, Eastern European countries had the sovereign right to decide whether they wanted to be in the EU or in NATO.
“It was their right… However, it did not end there, then the discussion went in a different direction – and primarily because of America – about accepting Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. This was nothing but a strategy to surround Russia, which was then much more open to cooperation with Europe, as well as with NATO”, – the former chancellor said.
He stressed that if Ukraine had joined NATO, Sevastopol, which is one of Russia’s most important seaports, would have been on Alliance territory.
Schroeder also called for “seeking dialogue” in problematic situations and noted that sanctions pressure worked “only in the rarest of cases”. Earlier, the former chancellor said that in the current economic situation “the West needs cooperation with Moscow”.Russian vaccine could quell coronavirus pandemic – Monde diplomatique