Exclusive interview with the leader of the FDP party after his controversial remarks about the occupation of Crimea. That means a policy of rapprochement with Putin, Mr. Lindner?

Berlin — the leader of the FDP (FDP) Christian Lindner (38) with the end of the week is subjected to a barrage of criticism because he is ready yet to accept contrary to the international law the occupation of the Ukrainian Crimea by Russia. Yesterday the correspondent of the newspaper Bild met him at the airport in Milan.

Bild: Mr. Lindner, we can say that for the Kremlin it was a very successful weekend. What do you mean your unexpected rapprochement with Putin?

Christian Lindner: there is No policy of rapprochement. We are not going to ease the sanctions without a response. But I don’t want to put up with the threat of spiralling escalation and arms race. Moscow was to be given a signal that Russia still has a place in the European house if it will once again adhere to the internal regulations. Until that happens, further cooperation is impossible. I don’t know whether there is in Moscow a willingness to change course. But I know that you should begin not with big issues and small. It should be checked.

— You said that you should be rewarded for “positive intermediate steps”. Despite the fact that Putin can simply order immediately to stop the annexation of Crimea.

Yes, but these expectations were unrealistic, says even the government of Ukraine. The annexation of Crimea violates international law. Therefore, the imposition of sanctions is fair. But since in the long term in this question the solution is not in sight, the conflict must be frozen. So you can check out on less critical points whether Russia is going to change its Imperial and aggressive policy. If not, then, as has happened this weekend, the sanctions will need to be even likely to tighten, not undo. Economic interests then it will not be counted.

— You, as free Democrats, needs to seek the location of these rulers like Putin?

— If the ability to dialogue is understood as an attempt to curry favor, it shows how stalled policy towards Russia. The FDP — a party in a legal state. No one professed Western values of freedom more than we do. In recent years we fought for the transatlantic partnership, even when it has lost popularity due to the TTIP and trump. Among my many critics see Germany in an intermediate position between the US and Russia. We warn against this. With the strengthening of the Western Alliance of Europe and we want to give Russia a chance to change its policy.

Inside the FDP that your new course has also been criticized.

— There is no new course. Our specialist for foreign policy Alexander Lambsdorff (Lambsdorff Alexander) and our former foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel (Klaus Kinkel) support me. It is not surprising that I agree with them.

— What, in your opinion, I would say Hans-Dietrich Genscher (Hans-Dietrich Genscher)?

— Gensler urged not to settle for the status quo and look for new ways to not let the dialogue be interrupted and to give the chance to opponent to save face.

The last months have been very positive. Whether your attitude to Russia you votes? Even the Federal government said to you.

— I don’t care. We must stand up for our beliefs, even if at first meet with opposition.

— Another question: you announced Federal election finished, Mrs Merkel will still be Chancellor. This asymmetric demobilization of voters of the Christian democratic Union (CDU), which then immediately will have to vote for the FDP?

— (laughs). I announced over the race between CDU and SPD, not elections. The most interesting question now is: which party will become the third force, or to lead the opposition, or to place a new emphasis in the government? For this we are fighting.