German energy chief Stefan Schaller "impressed by the transparency" of Putin's sham referendum in Donbas

One of the monitors sent at the invitation of the Russian state to assess the legitimacy of the referendums under way in occupied areas of Ukraine has been revealed to be none other than the CEO of a publicly owned German energy provider, Stefan Schaller.

BBC Monitoring’s Francis Scarr posted an interview Schaller gave to Russian state media in occupied Melitopol in German, in which he says that he’s impressed by the transparency of the referendum and will be communicating this to his media contacts in Germany.

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Schaller, CEO of Energie Waldeck-Frankenberg (EWF) in northern Hesse, which provides several hundred thousand residents in the region with electricity, gas and heating, confirmed to his local newspaper, HNA.

“I wanted to gather my own on the ground impressions about the situation there. Not least because I believe that objective information can never be wrong,” he said, adding "I think it is very transparent and it is very well-organised as much as it is possible in this short resource of time".

Acknowledging the danger of being exploited for Russian propaganda purposes, Schaller said that he was “always at pains in my statements to concentrate on facts and not on political valuations. I assess what I see, in the full knowledge that I am only being allowed to see what I should see.”

Schaller added that his visit had nothing to do with his role as the CEO of EWF. “It is a purely private matter. I took holiday in order to do it”.

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