Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder interferes in the discussion about stopping the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project because of the poisoning of Russian oppositionist Alexej Navalny.
"One thing has nothing to do with the other," he said in a new episode of his podcast
Gerhard Schröder - Die Agenda
Schröder is chairman of the board of directors of the pipeline company Nord Stream 2 - a position for which he is often criticized.
He emphasized that ten billion euros in investments would be lost if the almost completed gas pipeline between Russia and Germany through the Baltic Sea is not completed.
He also pointed out that the responsibility for the poisoning of Navalny with the chemical warfare agent Novichok had not yet been clarified.
"What is currently being done is essentially speculation because (...) there are no reliable facts."
The doctors at the Berlin Charité, where Navalny was treated and examined, consider the poisoning to be proven.
The federal government blames Russia for this.
Schröder worked closely with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his time as Chancellor and is still good friends with him today.
After the end of his political career, the former SPD leader took on several managerial positions in the Russian energy industry.
In addition to his position at Nord Stream 2, he is chairman of the supervisory board of the state-owned Russian energy company Rosneft and chairman of the board of the already existing Nord Stream pipeline.
After a special Bundeswehr laboratory had proven that the opposition politician Navalny had been poisoned, the candidates for the CDU chairmanship, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen, brought about a construction stop or even a termination of the pipeline project.
Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) have now spoken out against it.
Schröder praised this attitude: "I hope the federal government will stick to this position because it is in Germany's interest."
Schröder described the German demand on Russia to clarify the Navalny case as justified.
He also called on the German government to provide the Russian authorities with information through mutual legal assistance.
"It's a completely normal process that we don't have to talk about for long," he said.
Russia has now submitted three requests for mutual legal assistance to Germany.
Schröder described the criticism in Germany of his work for Russian energy companies as "gossip" that it was mainly the Greens and that he was not interested.
The energy partnership with Russia is primarily in the German interest.
"We have to secure our energy supply. And I don't see how we can do that at reasonable prices without Russia."
US President Donald Trump has criticized Nord Stream 2 for years and accuses Germany of allowing itself to be militarily protected from Russia, but at the same time providing the government in Moscow with high revenues from gas exports.
Critics accuse him of only wanting to prevent the pipeline in order to be able to sell more US liquefied petroleum gas in Europe.