BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday questioned previous Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to resign from his posts at Russian condition-owned businesses.

Schroeder, 77, is considered a longtime friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin — a relationship that has led to a great deal criticism in Germany, primarily due to the fact Russia invaded Ukraine very last week.

Schroeder is chairman of the supervisory board of Russian condition vitality company Rosneft and also holds primary positions in the controversial Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipeline assignments that purpose to convey Russian gasoline immediately to Germany, bypassing Ukraine. He is also slated to get on a supervisory board put up for Gazprom, a Russian the vast majority point out-owned multinational electricity company.

“My information to Gerhard Schroeder is, immediately after all, to withdraw from these posts,” Scholz stated on the ZDF Television, in accordance to the German information company dpa.

Scholz stressed that Schroeder’s ties to Russian companies were being not a non-public make any difference considering that he is a former chancellor.

“This obligation does not end when one particular no longer retains the place of work, but it also carries on,” he explained.

Schroeder, who served as the chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005 and is a member of the Social Democrats just like existing Chancellor Scholz, has long been criticized for his shut ties to Russia.

Previously Thursday, the leaders of Germany’s Social Democrats, Lars Klingbeil and Saskia Esken, stated they experienced created a letter urging Schroeder to resign from his posts at Russian condition-owned organizations.

Whilst a solid U.S. ally and NATO member, article-war Germany has also tried to manage very good ties with Moscow, a policy pushed by business pursuits and Germany’s electricity demands.

But before this week, Scholz explained Russia’s invasion of Ukraine expected a dramatically distinct reaction from Germany than in the past and announced the country would mail anti-tank weapons and surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine. That stunning choice — abandoning Germany’s long-held refusal to export weapons to conflict zones — is viewed as almost nothing a lot less than a historic split with the country’s article-World War II international coverage.