Former Interior Minister Otto Schily (SPD) has warned against Germany taking a one-sided course on Ukraine. “A bellicism has spread in Germany, which is risky,” Schily told the German Press Agency in Berlin. Bellicism means a form of glorification of war. “The Greens, of all people, are too one-sided,” said Schily.

“There is too little thought about: How can we get out of the conflict?” he said. “It is positive that Olaf Scholz is thinking about this,” he said, referring to the Chancellor. Schily, who turns 90 this Wednesday, was Federal Minister of the Interior from 1998 to 2005 during the Chancellorship of Gerhard Schröder (SPD).

“I criticize the murderous war unreservedly. But we have to ask what prospects there are beyond supplying arms and donating money to Ukraine,” said Schily. Constructive ideas are needed. “Necessary is political imagination.”

Ukraine wants to remain independent. Everyone has to acknowledge that. “But at the same time it must be clear that one has to live with one’s neighbors, including with Russia,” said Schily. “Both sides have interests that must be taken into account.” Russia will always remain a factor, also with regard to Europe. “We have to find a way to deal with the Russians.”

Schily pointed out the ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity of Ukraine. “Multilingualism, including the Russian language, is an indisputable fact.”

Advice from the sidelines is always accompanied by a question mark. “But a look at other countries shows that the interests of all sides can be safeguarded if a country remains militarily neutral,” said Schily. Schily thus rejects Ukraine joining NATO.

He also sees EU accession as unrealistic – Schily recommends the “Swiss model” instead. Switzerland understood it in an exemplary manner “to develop a free society with mutual respect for the different ethnic backgrounds and with military neutrality,” he said. “A peace solution for Ukraine could take Switzerland as an example.” He doesn’t see “how Ukraine’s accession to the EU should work without the EU overstretching.”

He hopes that the threads of talks between Ukraine and Russia have not been severed. This is shown by the recent exchange of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war. The same applies to the USA and Russia – Schily referred to the agreement on joint flights to the international space station.

Schily expressly warned that Germany would be overburdened economically. “That would be of no use to anyone, not even Ukraine.” Schily also sees his longstanding rejection of the nuclear phase-out confirmed. “Now it’s becoming even clearer that the complete abandonment of nuclear technology was foolish.”

Germany should no longer ignore nuclear technology innovations. “The complete farewell to nuclear technology has put us in a highly risky economic situation.” Due to the simultaneous phase-out of nuclear and coal, Germany has become dependent on gas. At the same time, with the energy transition, the demand for electricity is increasing sharply, for example because of e-mobility.