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Gerhard Schröder: Germany's ex-chancellor quits Russian energy giant Rosneft amid pressure over war

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Schroeder has been on the board of directors of Russian oil giant Rosneft since 2017.
Schroeder has been on the board of directors of Russian oil giant Rosneft since 2017.   -   Copyright  Carmen Jaspersen/dpa via AP, File

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder will step down from his position at Russian state energy company Rosneft.

Schröder informed Rosneft on Friday that he could no longer continue as chairman of the board of directors of the country's largest oil company.

Backlash had been growing against the 78-year-old over his ties with Russia and its energy sector amid the war in Ukraine.

Schröder's announcement comes just one day after German lawmakers agreed to strip him of benefits, including his taxpayer-funded office and staff.

Members of the European Parliament have also voted for a non-binding resolution calling on Schröder to resign from his posts and be added to EU sanctions lists.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz rejected demands from Brussels to further punish Schröder and said his resignation "would be best for all".

Schröder served as Germany's Chancellor between 1998 and 2005 when he developed close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Schröder had been a member and chairman of Rosneft's board of directors since 2017 and was re-elected to the position in June last year.

The former leader has also been criticised for his role as chairman of the shareholders' committee of the Nord Stream AG gas pipeline projects with Moscow.

Schröder was also due to join the supervisory board of Russian gas giant Gazprom in June.

Earlier this year, several office staff quit after Schröder told the New York Times that he didn't think Putin had ordered the massacre of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

Despite widespread criticism from political opponents and within his own Social Democratic Party (SPD), Schröder had stated in April that he would only resign if Moscow stopped gas supplies to Germany.

He now leaves Rosneft alongside another German board member, Matthias Warnig, according to the Russian group's statement.

Warnig had been a member of Rosneft's board of directors since 2011 and its vice-chairman since July 2014.