``Some political observers abroad consider the former chancellor's behavior to be evidence that Germany's center-left Social Democratic Party, to which Steinmeier belongs, still hasn't abandoned its traditionally pro-Russian policies. Schröder's decision to meet with Putin and "embrace him in a bear hug sent an unacceptable signal that some prominent Europeans are willing to ignore Mr. Putin's brutish ways," the New York Times wrote in an editorial. "Schröder's appearance will have political consequences," Chancellery sources in Berlin said, expressing their concern.''

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