MOSCOW, September 19 (RIA Novosti) - German President Joachim Gauck told Rheinische Post on Friday that a visit to Russia is not on his agenda.
"From the beginning of my presidency, I was planning to go to Russia to take part in negotiations with our partners about the issues that connect and divide us. There have been talks between us and the Russian side about the possible timing of the visit. But now the situation has worsened in some way, and the question about my trip to Russia at the present time it is not on the agenda," the president said.
Gauck also said his critical attitude toward Russia, which he is known for, is not connected with the fact that his father was detained in a prison camp in Siberia, and that he appreciates Russian culture and respects the country's people, but he does not share the views of the Russian leadership.
Gauck's father was arrested during the Soviet occupation of Germany in 1951 on charges of spying for Western countries and anti-Soviet propaganda and was sent to prison camps in Siberia, until he was returned to Germany in 1955 after first German chancellor Konrad Adenauer visited the USSR.
In December 2013, German media reported that Gauck refused to attend the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.