The prime minister of Saxony urges "pragmatism" in dealings with Russia
Michael Kretschmer, the prime minister of Saxony, reiterated his demand for a diplomatic resolution to the war in Ukraine this week in an interview with the daily Die Zeit. He said that isolating Russia and stopping economic relations with Moscow is risky for Germany.
"I find it ludicrous and hazardous to consider permanently cutting off economic ties with Russia... We face much more threats from a Russia that is focused on China and has no connections to Europe, Kretschmer told the news source.
The official expressed his concern over how the sanctions against Russia would affect the German economy and energy security. The conflict in Ukraine should "freeze," he urged, adding that a ceasefire would not only put an end to the deaths but also "create an opportunity for the supply of raw materials," most notably fossil fuels and grains. He also called for "pragmatism" in relations with Moscow and for the EU to facilitate peace talks.
A third of the energy used by German industry and over half of German homes' electrical and heating needs are met by gas. Before the conflict in Ukraine, Russia supplied up to half of that gas. However, due to political or technical issues, deliveries have decreased during the past few weeks.
Kretschmer asserts that despite ambitious political and energy transformation goals, Germany will require Russian gas imports for at least the next five years.
Kretschmer stated that aside from common citizens who won't be able to heat their homes in the winter, German industry is at risk if Russian gas supplies are lost. "If we realize that we cannot, for now, give up on Russian gas, then it is bitter but it is the reality, and we must act accordingly," Kretschmer said.
"The stability of our entire economic system is in jeopardy. Germany may deindustrialize if we are not vigilant, he warned. Earlier this month, Kretschmer stated that before imposing sanctions on Russia, Germany must guarantee steady petroleum supplies.