No wonder Angel Merkel's government and German media distanced themselves from dictator Putin's lapdog, ex Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who on Monday embraced his master in St. Petersburg:
"Schroeder celebrates his birthday with Putin and makes Germany's foreign policy look absurd," wrote Roland Nelles in a commentary for Der Spiegel magazine's online edition, which published a series of pictures showing Schroeder first waiting for Putin's car to arrive and embracing the Russian president.
"The ex-chancellor is mistaken to think he can carry on with business-as-usual as if nothing has happened. The German government, which his party belongs to, is doing all it can right now to stop his friend Vladimir from pursuing power-hungry policies. In times like this, a former German government leader should keep his distance."
Heiner Bremer, senior political correspondent for Germany's N-TV news network, also condemned Schroeder.
"It shows Schroeder has no instincts and no taste for such a meeting at a time when Putin has annexed Crimea and is trying to redraw Eastern Europe's borders," Bremer said in a commentary. "He has lost all credibility."
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung online also criticised Schroeder, adding his SPD party in Germany was left speechless.
"There is something ghoulish to pictures of a smiling Schroeder as he hugs his friend Vladimir at the same time German army soldiers have been taken hostage by fanatic Putin admirers," wrote Thomas Holl of the FAZ in a commentary, referring to observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe who are being held in Slaviansk.
Schröder should of course be placed on the US sanction list as soon as possible!