Ukraine chief explodes at Germany over Russia snub
Russia has been warned it will be swiftly hit with an “unprecedented package of sanctions” in the event of fresh incursion in Ukraine after world leaders, of Britain, the US, Germany, Italy, Poland and France, presented a united front to combat a feared invasion. But Germany has raised concerns over its reaction to the threat posed by Russia to Ukraine after it recently blocked NATO ally Estonia from giving Ukraine military support.
Critics say Germany could be reluctant to move against Russia due to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline – which is to transport Russian gas to Germany bypassing Ukraine, despite threats from Berlin to cut this deal off in the event of all-out war.
And now the US is said to have doubts about Germany’s loyalty to the alliance.
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, foreign policy writer Tom Rogan, launched a scathing attack on Germany saying “cheap gas, car exports to China and keeping Mr. Putin calm” was more important to Berlin than “allied democratic solidarity”.
He said: “As Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine looms, most Western allies are acting to support Kyiv and reassure vulnerable members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
Germany’s response to Russia has prompted criticism
Germany has raised concerns over its reaction to the threat posed by Russia to Ukraine
“Germany is taking a different approach, putting Russian interests before those of the West.
“Berlin reveals a serious reality: Facing the two most consequential security threats to America and to the post-World War II democratic international order—China and Russia—Germany is no longer a credible ally.
“For Germany, cheap gas, car exports to China and keeping Mr. Putin calm seem to be more important than allied democratic solidarity.
“Ukraine’s fate will convey on Germany a heavy burden of responsibility.”
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Russia has been warned it will be swiftly hit with an “unprecedented package of sanctions”
While Katja Hoyer, an Anglo-German historian and journalist, said “rifts in the alliance were there for all to see”.
Writing for the Washington Post, she said: “Seen in that light, Biden’s in his news conference that a ‘minor incursion’ into Ukraine by the Russians would meet with a different response from NATO compared with a full-on invasion suggests that Washington and Berlin have been discussing how to handle minimal German support for economic sanctions.
“Rifts in the alliance were there for all to see.”
She said Germany had become “a weak link in NATO’s line of defence”.
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Ms Hoyer said: With Germany hesitant and the United States seemingly resigned to compromise if the scale of the Russian invasion allows it, Moscow might well think it’s worth the gamble.
“If it does, the escalation in eastern Europe will be not in small part due to Berlin’s urge to look east rather than west. Germany has become a weak link in NATO’s line of defence.”
Publicly the US has sought to defend Germany with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying last week: “It’s fair to say that the United States has no better partner, no better friend in the world than Germany.”
With US President Biden said Germany was ready to “respond swiftly, effectively and in a united way” and he ”no doubts about that”.
Russia vs Ukraine
Meanwhile, Poland’s prime minister hit out at Germany for its reaction to the threat posed by Russia to Ukraine following reports that Germany is blocking NATO ally Estonia from giving Ukraine military support.
Mateusz Morawiecki said in a Facebook post: “I observe with concern the situation in Ukraine and the reactions of our neighbours from Germany in the face of the threat from Russia.
“A great disappointment is, among other things, Germany withholding its consent for the supply of weapons from Estonia to a state that is preparing to defend itself against an aggressor.”
While Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks said Berlin’s policy on weapons for Ukraine was “a big mistake”, according to German daily Bild.But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said his country has not supported the export of weapons in recent years.
Poland has long urged Germany to take a tougher stance towards Russia, particularly as regards the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.
Some central and eastern European countries think the pipeline will give Russian President Vladimir Putin a lever to exert undue influence on western and central Europe.
Mr Morawiecki said the “black scenario” that Poland had been warning about was now arriving, and that the construction of Nord Stream 2 and Russia’s “gas blackmail” were giving Mr Putin “the tools to terrorise other European countries”.
It comes after the Prime Minister and the US President met virtually with the leaders of Nato, the EU, Italy, Poland, France and Germany on Monday evening as they hoped to avert what Boris Johnson warned would be a bloody and protracted conflict for Moscow.
Downing Street said they stressed diplomatic discussions with Russia remains the first priority, but said the nation would be hit with “swift retributive responses” if a “further Russian incursion into Ukraine” takes place.
The US State Department has cleared Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to send US-made missiles and other weapons to Ukraine.