© Reuters. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addresses the media with North Macedonian Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski on the sidelines of their meeting in Berlin, Germany June 28, 2023. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday said the failed mutiny in Russia last weekend had weakened President Vladimir Putin but it was unclear if that would make the Kremlin more likely to withdraw its troops. from Ukraine to facilitate peace negotiations or not.
Scholz said in an hour-long interview with German broadcaster ARD: “I really believe he is weakening because this shows that authoritarian power structures have fractured and he no longer as solid as he always claimed.”
When asked about the impact of the failed mutiny on the Ukraine war, the German chancellor said that a prerequisite for successful peace talks is that Russia accepts the withdrawal of troops from the country.
“Whether it becomes easier or more difficult through these events is not really clear,” he said in the interview recorded Wednesday afternoon to air in the evening.
Scholz said he did not want to join the speculation about how long Putin might stay in office, saying the West’s aim in assisting Ukraine was to help it defend itself, not to change the regime. .
Asked if at any point on Saturday he hoped the Wagner mercenary uprising would be the end of Putin’s rule, he said it made no sense because it was unclear whether what will come after he will be better or not.
“The Wagner Army is a military unit that is acting very actively around the world, and especially in Russia’s war against Ukraine.”