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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berlin May Recall Envoy Amid Charges He’s Too Soft on Russia

Germany will replace its ambassador in Moscow because he is seen as too soft versus the Kremlin, a media report said.

Ambassador Walter Jürgen Schmidt will have to leave his post because leading members of Germany’s coalition government, including the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel, believe that he is to soft on Russia, the magazine Der Spiegel reported in its issue for this week.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle wants to replace Schmidt with Ulrich Brandenburg, currently Germany’s ambassador to NATO, the report said, suggesting that the decision has not yet been confirmed by Merkel’s Cabinet.

An embassy spokesman said Sunday that he had no comment on the report, which was published Saturday on the magazine’s web site.

A source in Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that while he could not confirm the replacement, Schmidt had been controversial within the ministry for sending “super soft” reports to Berlin. “They were usually full of praise for the dual leadership of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev,” the source told The Moscow Times.

Merkel, who leads the conservative Christian Democrats, was re-elected as head of the German government in September but changed her coalition partner from the traditionally Russia-friendly Social Democrats to the more values-orientated Liberal Democrats, headed by Westerwelle. The new foreign minister took the job from Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Social Democrats’ contender for the chancellery.

Westerwelle has said he would broadly continue Berlin’s pragmatic foreign policy.

Schmidt has served as ambassador to Moscow since July 2005. Before that he was an arms control envoy for the German government.