Prime Minister of Saxony Michael Kretschmer (CDU): Russia must be condemned, but ties with it must not be cut

The Prime Minister of Saxony Michael Kretschmer (Michael Kretschmer) doubts the sanctions course of the German government.

: That’s the whole question. When will rampant inflation and skyrocketing energy prices affect our social cohesion? We have not yet realized the full scale of the consequences. And we are already talking about heating points that we must create so that people do not have to freeze in their apartments. Threatens the collapse of our entire economic system threatens to collapse. If we do not take action, this could lead to the de-industrialization of Germany. Therefore, the adventure of Putin’s Russia and the loss of life in Ukraine, contrary to international law, must be put to an end. The resulting international problems, including the impending famine in Africa and the economic recession in Germany (and therefore in Europe as a whole), must be prevented.

“What we need at the moment is to think more pragmatically. Now the arguments are based mainly on the ethical principle of morality, and not on the ethical principle of responsibility. If we understand that we cannot refuse Russian gas for the time being, then this is a bitter reality, and we must accept it. In the same way, it is necessary to talk about atomic energy if we realize that without it we will not be able to meet our energy needs. So once again: Putin cannot be allowed to win, but the situation must be frozen. The truce will stop the loss of life and create an opportunity for the supply of raw materials.

“First, we in Europe need to realize that we will not be able to cope with the consequences that are coming to us. We must insist on negotiations. In war, you can only lose.

“We can’t admit it. These regions are not Russian. But when concluding a truce, one must take into account what has happened in the months since February 24th. However, you will need to think about other ways and listen to all the voices. How long should this conflict go on? Two months? Two years? And what are the consequences and what damage will it bring?

— I consider the very idea that Russia needs to be isolated for a long time and that it is no longer possible to cooperate with it economically, perverted and dangerous. Russia, oriented towards China and having no connections in Europe, will become even more dangerous for us. In recent decades, people have made so many connections, Germans and Russians have worked together in the fields of science, culture and economics. After Nazi barbarism and the Cold War, it was all seen as a miracle. Russia is more than KGB functionaries, oligarchs and imperial ambitions. We can’t give up. We are not naive or crazy, we formulate our interests and work to strengthen our positions.

You have touched on an important aspect. This point of view now dominates, serves as a guide to action and, apparently, will prevail for a long time to come. To some extent, I see the situation the same way. This leads to demands for the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine and the imposition of an embargo. But you have to see what happens in the end. Are we overestimating our capabilities? A lot of people write to me from all over Germany, they share their thoughts and concerns. Many express dissatisfaction that their opinion is too little taken into account in public discourse. I imagine the consequences of this for our country. I think about its people, about the life chances of future generations. About the need to invest in our security. Then a normal neighborhood with Russia is possible. Such investments will require large expenditures. Only an economically strong Germany can bring this money. We understand that such things are interconnected, make up a single whole.

— People in Saxony, the country of the peaceful revolution against the GDR in 1989, have great sympathy for Ukraine’s struggle for freedom. What happens to people there, the Saxons consider injustice, an attack on a sovereign country. They show incredible solidarity with refugees, pick up people at the border, take care of them on the ground. All this makes a deep impression. Love for one’s neighbor is not empty words here.

Nobody likes to wage war. I am not a military expert. What I see is a huge increase in our spending, this is an eight to ten percent inflation approaching us. I am very afraid for our entire economic system and for the cohesion of society in the country.

“The Greens have been fighting for decades to move away from nuclear energy and coal. They, like the CDU, did not deny that gas would be a necessary transitional technology. And suddenly in March they announced that they were ready for anything, that they had enough liquefied gas. But from the side of the greens it was a lie. Of course, many alternative technologies could be developed before the end of this decade. But physics is hard. Yes, we must develop wind and solar energy. It is also necessary to quickly lay power lines. And yet: in the coming years, we will continue to need Russian gas, we will have to use the existing nuclear power plants and realize the abandonment of coal, as agreed, by 2038. The federal government does not let us in on its plans and visions. There is no precise indication from the government of how high energy prices could rise without jeopardizing Germany’s competitiveness. It is appropriate to expect more from him than warnings about a possible shortage of energy and extreme increases in costs, especially since we are talking not about a couple of days, but about several years.

— No, we have been providing Ukraine with humanitarian aid from the very first day, and also supplying it with weapons. This is one side. The other is that Europe needs to be defensible and we need to invest together in our security. I was a member of the Bundestag for 15 years, and during all this time we argued with the Greens and the SPD about whether we should buy F-16 fighters and drones for the Bundeswehr. And is it possible to allow universities to engage in defense-technical research. They didn’t want any of this. Now they are making a sharp turn in the other direction. But this will not work, because soon we will not have the strength to carry it all out. And then we will really be vulnerable.

– This is a political symbol, around which a struggle has flared up, distracting from the main question: will we be able to abandon Russian gas in the coming years? This question was asked by the federal government in March and April, but now it has realized that it is impossible. The federal government must now answer the question: what, besides renewable energy, can hedge us?

There will be no return to the time before February 24th. But the position that, they say, you can’t buy more raw materials in Russia is just as wrong! We must finally admit that in the next five years we will not be able to abandon Russian gas. And if so, then we need to draw appropriate conclusions from this.

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