German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed concern over the growing "alienation" between Russia and the West and called for the restoration of diplomatic efforts aimed at repairing damaged ties.
On April 15, in an interview with Bild am Sonntag newspaper, Steinmeier conceded that the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain was "a very serious incident" but he added that "we should be at least as worried about the galloping alienation between Russia and the West, the consequences of which stretch far beyond this case."
Steinmeier also said that although it was right to impose sanctions on Russia for its aggression against Ukraine, "we can’t abandon direct dialogue." He also cautioned against demonizing the entire Russian people. "Independently of Putin, we can’t declare the whole of Russia, the country and its people, as our enemy."
Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been President of Germany since 2017. Prior to his election to this position, he worked as Germany's Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2013 and participated in the work of the "Normandy format" to resolve the armed conflict in the Donbass. The Minsk agreements were concluded with his participation. Steinmeier is a representative of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, which is part of the ruling coalition.