Germany's SPD party has slammed their party fellow Foreign Minister Heiko Maas for pursuing a too rigid stance in relations with Russia, German newspaper Die Welt reported.
According to the media outlet, dissatisfaction with the position of Maas was, in particular, expressed by the head of the federal state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Manuela Schwesig, head of the federal state of Lower Saxony, Stefan Weil, and the SPD deputy chairman, Ralph Stegner.
Schwesig and Stegner noted that the new German government shows too little interest in dialogue with Moscow. Stefan Weil also stated that the party is gradually abandoning its course of sending "signals of understanding" towards Russia.
Critical statements were also made about Michael Roth, minister of state for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office, following his recent article for Die Welt in which he claimed that "Germany pursuing special relation towards Russia would be extremely dangerous."
The SPD believes that because of Roth and Maas, the party's eastern policy is under threat, Die Welt noted.
Earlier, former German foreign minister and incumbent German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, told the Bild newspaper that Germany should refrain from perceiving Russia as an enemy.
He also argued that the German leadership must "confront this dangerous alienation," a remark that has been perceived in Berlin as indirect criticism of Mass' approach.
Recently, relations between Moscow and Berlin escalated, after Germany expelled four Russian diplomats over the Skripal case last March in solidarity with Britain.
Despite a new crisis in Moscow-Berlin relations, leading figures among Germany's opposition parties have voiced their desire to restore the G8 format during the upcoming G7 summit in Canada for a better dialogue with Moscow.
The group shrunk to seven members in 2014, after Russia was excluded from annual meetings over the reunification of Crimea with Russia.