Former German chancellor says he'd resign if Putin turns off gas tap
Gerhard Schroeder, former German Chancellor and head of the Nord Stream 2 Board of Directors, waits for the start of the hearing in the Bundestag's Economics Committee on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project in the meeting room. Schroeder whose close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin have proven hugely controversial since the start of the war in Ukraine, has told the New York Times that Putin won't cut Russian gas supplies to Germany. Kay Nietfeld/dpa
Gerhard Schroeder, former German Chancellor and head of the Nord Stream 2 Board of Directors, waits for the start of the hearing in the Bundestag's Economics Committee on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project in the meeting room. Schroeder whose close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin have proven hugely controversial since the start of the war in Ukraine, has told the New York Times that Putin won't cut Russian gas supplies to Germany. Kay Nietfeld/dpa

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, whose close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin have proven hugely controversial since the start of the war in Ukraine, has told the New York Times that Putin won't cut Russian gas supplies to Germany.

In an interview to be published on Sunday, Schröder, who since retiring from politics has taken up a lucrative role heading Russian state energy giant Rosneft's supervisory board, as well as working for the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, suggested that he would resign his role only if Putin turned off the gas tap to Germany.

"It won't happen," he said. But if it did, "then I would resign," Schröder confirmed, without specifying which role he was referring to.

The former chancellor has come in for massive criticism in Germany for not cutting ties with the Russian fossil fuel industry despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russian energy giant Gazprom also nominated Schröder for a supervisory board position at the beginning of February - shortly before the war in Ukraine began.

According to the New York Times, Schröder declined to say whether he now planned to accept the Gazprom nomination or not.

Schröder appeared unperturbed by the criticism he has faced, stating that others too had been close to Russia. "They all went along with it for the last 30 years," he said. "But suddenly everyone knows better."

Schröder also said he remains willing to mediate in the war in Ukraine. "I think this war was a mistake and I've always said so," he said. "What we have to do now is to create peace as quickly as possible."

Schröder added, "I have always served German interests. I do what I can do. At least one side trusts me."

"What I can tell you is that Putin is interested in ending the war," Schröder said. "But that's not so easy. There are a few points that need to be clarified."

"You can't isolate a country like Russia in the long run, neither politically, nor economically," he said. "German industry needs the raw materials that Russia has. It's not just oil and gas, it's also rare earths. And these are raw materials that cannot simply be substituted."

The Times said that it had spoken with the former German leader twice in his hometown of Hanover. The interview is the first of its kind Schröder has given since the start of the war in Ukraine.