The regional prime minister of the German state of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, has broken ranks with his CDU party’s line on the war in Ukraine and called for brokered peace negotiations with Russia, stating that the ongoing conflict should be “frozen.”
Kretschmer acknowledged that any talk of negotiating with the Kremlin following Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine would be “bitter for Ukraine” but insisted the time had come for a serious discussion as to the reality of continued fighting in the region and the wider ramifications of such conflict.
“I know this is a minority opinion and the other position is much more popular. However, I advocate for it to be given more consideration,” German tabloid BILD reported him as saying.
It is understood that Kretschmer would consider Germany and France to play a major role in mediating any such armistice and subsequent peace agreement.
“It will be bitter for Ukraine to go down this road, but what is the alternative?” he asked.
On the German government’s current position of cutting all ties with Russia and siding with Ukraine for a comprehensive victory against the Kremlin, Krestchmer commented: “We’re not going to win anything with that.”
“We need negotiations as soon as possible now, the war must be frozen,” Kretschmer said.
The CDU regional prime minister’s remarks have faced staunch criticism from some within his own party and among Ukrainian diplomats in Germany.
Andriy Melnyk, until recently Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, tweeted at Kretschmer: “Ukrainians advocate sticking your head in a freezer to freeze your hot Russia fantasies. Your constant pandering to war criminal Putin is disgusting.”
Meanwhile, the CDU’s party chairman in Berlin, Kai Wegner, said that while everyone is in favor of peace and security, an agreement is “not possible with the warmonger Putin.” FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai was more direct, commenting: “Thank God this man is not responsible for our foreign policy.”
Given the German federal government is continuing to hold its current “Ukraine must win at all costs” position on the ongoing conflict, Kretschmer’s remarks are a considerable change in tone to such an idealistic approach to the war, and they may begin to turn the tide in public opinion on the West’s majority view as the cost-of-living crisis and consequences of Russian energy sanctions deepen.