Putin's friend announced "good news": The end of the war?
He added that last month's wheat delivery agreement could be a step in that direction.
"The good news is that the Kremlin wants an agreed solution. The first success is the wheat agreement, which could perhaps be slowly extended to a ceasefire," Schrder told Stern weekly and RTL/ntv, adding that he met Putin in Moscow last week.
Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement last month to unblock grain exports from Black Sea ports, and the first ship carrying Ukrainian wheat to world markets since the beginning of the invasion arrived in Turkey last night.
Schrder said solutions to key problems like Crimea can be found over time, "perhaps not over 99 years, like in Hong Kong, but over the next generation." He said that an alternative to NATO membership for Ukraine could be armed neutrality, like Austria.
The future of the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, the scene of fierce fighting, would be more complex, however. "We will have to find a solution based on the Swiss cantonal model," he said, adding that it remains to be seen whether Putin will return to the pre-war "contact line" in the ceasefire.
Schrder, German Chancellor from 1998 to 2005, criticized the war in Ukraine, but refused to condemn Putin, whom he still calls a close personal friend, "Index.hr" reports.
In Germany, he is increasingly marginalized because of his pro-Russian stance, and his right to an office financed by public money has been taken away from him.