Schroeder says Ukraine grain deal may pave way for ceasefire

Schroeder says Ukraine grain deal may pave way for ceasefire
# 03 August 2022 09:34 (UTC +04:00)

The deal between Moscow and Kyiv to unblock Ukrainian grain exports may offer a way forward to a possible ceasefire in the five-month conflict said former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, APA reports citing Euractiv.

The first grain-carrying ship to leave Ukrainian ports in wartime safely anchored off Turkey’s coast on Tuesday and is due to be inspected on Wednesday (3 August).

“The good news is that the Kremlin wants a negotiated solution,” Schroeder told Stern weekly and broadcasters RTL/ntv on Wednesday, adding he had met Putin in Moscow last week.

“A first success is the grain deal, perhaps that can be slowly expanded to a ceasefire,” he said.

Schroeder said solutions to crucial problems such as Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, could be found over time, “maybe not over 99 years, like Hong Kong, but in the next generation”.

Schroeder, chancellor from 1998 to 2005, has criticised the war in Ukraine but refused to condemn Putin.

Meanwhile, Russia has accused the United States of being directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine and not just supplying Kyiv with arms.

Russia’s defence ministry, headed by an ally of Putin, said comments made by Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, to Britain’s Telegraph newspaper showed that Washington was entangled in the conflict.

Skibitsky told the paper there was consultation between U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence officials before strikes and Washington had an effective veto on intended targets, but that U.S. officials were not providing direct targeting information.

“All this undeniably proves that Washington, contrary to White House and Pentagon claims, is directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

“It is the Biden administration that is directly responsible for all Kyiv-approved rocket attacks on residential areas and civilian infrastructure in populated areas of Donbas and other regions, which have resulted in mass deaths of civilians.”

There was no immediate reaction from the White House or Pentagon to the ministry’s assertions.

The Pentagon did deny, however, Moscow’s claims that Russia had destroyed six US-made HIMARS missile systems since the start of the Ukraine war. Russia regularly claims it has hit HIMARS but has yet to show proof.

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of carrying out devastating missile attacks on civilian targets on an almost daily basis. Both sides deny deliberately targeting civilians.