Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who has been reproached for his ties to President Vladimir Putin, came under fresh criticism Wednesday after attending a Victory Day party hosted by the Russian embassy in Berlin.
Schroeder was seen at the reception on Tuesday marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, along with senior figures from the far-right Alternative for Germany party and the far-left Linke party.
The two parties have been critical of the sanctions imposed on Moscow in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
The former Social Democrat chancellor is seen at the event in a photo published by German daily Bild. Schroeder has not yet commented on his presence at the reception.
Schroeder, who held a number of positions in Russian energy companies, has seen many of the privileges normally given to ex-chancellors taken away for his ties to the Kremlin.
Schroeder no longer has a publicly funded private office, but members of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats have so far failed to expel his predecessor from the party.
"I find it incomprehensible," senior Social Democrat MP Katja Mast said in response to Schroeder's attendance.
"Gerhard Schroeder's behavior can hardly be surpassed in its tastelessness," said senior conservative (CDU) politician Thorsten Frei.
"On the day the former chancellor was entertained by Russian diplomats, innocent people in Ukraine died as a result of the Russian war of aggression," Frei said.
Scholz's spokesman declined to comment on the reception at a regular press conference Wednesday.
Also seen at the embassy party were the former East German leader Egon Krenz.
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