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Germany Calls On Kyiv To Remove 'Enemy Of The State' Website After Schroeder Listed

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

Germany is calling on Ukraine to remove a controversial website that lists what it calls "enemies of the state" after Berlin's former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder appeared on the list.

The German Foreign Ministry said it "strongly condemned the list" appearing on Ukrainian website Myrotvorets (Peacemaker), which is run by an acquaintance of Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

"We have informed Ukraine of our position in the past and have insisted the Ukrainian government delete this website. We will now do this again," a spokeswoman said on November 14.

Schroeder is listed as an "Anti-Ukrainian" for defending Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in an interview published in the German daily Aachener Nachrichten.

Though the annexation was illegal, Schroeder asked: "Do you really believe that any Russian president will ever change this? This is a reality we will one day have to come to terms with."

Schroeder, who is a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, also said that Crimea was a gift to Ukraine from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. Both Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union at that time.

Khrushchev "thought that Soviet communism would live as long as the Catholic Church. Luckily, it didn't," Schroeder told the newspaper.

Schroeder's pro-Russian views have made him in unpopular in Kyiv. Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Minister Pavlo Klimkin called for EU sanctions against Schroeder in March.

Schroeder's wife, Soyeon Schroeder-Kim, said she was concerned about him being targeted on the list. Two people previously listed were murdered in 2015.

"In my country and in my culture we cannot comprehend such an attack on a democratic politician," she told RND.

The website's list of "enemies of the state" has thousands of names, including former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Based on reporting by dpa and TASS