International press comments on the Ukraine-Russia conflict

Newspapers wrote on Tuesday about the conflict between Ukraine and Russia:

The “Times” (London):

“In the many post-war decades of Ostpolitik, Germany has walked a fine line between appeasing Moscow and standing firm in the face of the Kremlin’s attacks and open threats. In the current crisis, the newly formed Berlin coalition should ensure that it does not end up as the weakest link in the Western alliance there it is. (…)

Nevertheless, Berlin is reserved. On the one hand, because of its history, which makes even young Germans feel uneasy about the idea of ​​supplying weapons that could be used to kill Russians. And on the other hand because of the conviction on which German post-war policy towards Eastern Europe is based: even unwelcome regimes can be changed better through trade and dialogue than through demonstrations of power.”

“The Time” (Brussels):

“As the threat of war in Ukraine mounts, financial markets go into sell mode. The peace dividend that has benefited the global economy for the past 30 years is at stake. (…)

The diplomatic talks, which are supposed to get the fuse out of the powder keg, continue. But the possibility of war coming is real. This has led to major concerns in the financial markets. A war brings enormous economic uncertainties. That explains why financial markets, already struggling due to high inflation and expectations of central bank rate hikes, plummeted on Monday. (…)

Geopolitical risks have fully returned. The stability that has long characterized the world order, thanks to an overall peaceful coexistence of the great powers, is under pressure.”

“The New Zurich Times”:

“Even more than three decades after the collapse of the Eastern bloc, Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic States, even Poland, have remained geopolitical ‘flyover country’ in the eyes of many Germans: an area that one would gladly ignore if it is to draft a European order. (…)

As annoying as this German mood is, one should not be overly pessimistic. Although there are numerous people who understand Putin in Germany, there are also those who oppose it: a new survey shows that 47 percent of Germans reject the delivery of defensive weapons to Ukraine, but at least 42 percent are in favor of it. Public opinion is apparently divided on the issue.

In its political mentality, Germany occupies a strange special role within the West. But the Federal Republic is also a key country that matters. One must not give up the Germans as lost for the cause of the West – and there is no reason to do so.”

“Kommersant” (Moscow):

“Escalation around Ukraine reached its highest level since the beginning of the year on Monday. The threat of war and new sanctions against Russia have weighed on the ruble; and Russian stock prices are at their lowest levels in months. Led Added to the tremors in the markets were the announcements by NATO that additional troops would be deployed to the ‘eastern flank’, but also the arrival of military supplies from the USA and Great Britain in Ukraine – and of course the beginning evacuation of diplomats from the USA and its allies from Kiev.

In the Kremlin, the events are described as a ‘hysterical information campaign’, but there are also warnings that NATO activities could now encourage Kiev to attempt a violent operation against the Donbass. (…) Another example of the ‘false stories’ shaking the markets is the information campaign that Russia could become entangled in a sanctions war and stop exporting gas if new ones against the country because of its Ukraine policy sanctions will be imposed.”

“de Volkskrant” (Amsterdam):

“In recent years, the German government has not flinched from American threats of sanctions against the construction of Nord Stream 2 or from complaints from Eastern European countries, including Ukraine, that the pipeline could cut off Russian gas. (…)

But in the face of the encirclement of Ukraine by the Russian army and the push for sanctions from Western countries, the Germans sound divided. New foreign minister Annalena Baerbock says Nord Stream 2 is unlikely to become operational in the event of a Russian military invasion, but Chancellor Olaf Scholz remains reluctant to use the pipeline for sanctions. Keeping Nord Stream 2 closed could jeopardize Western Europe’s gas supply: Russia has made it clear that it wants to pump additional gas supplies through the new pipeline in the Baltic Sea alone. The Russian government is not worried about a loss of income: since the first western wave of sanctions in 2014, Russia has built up currency and gold reserves of up to $620 billion.”

“Wall Street Journal” (New York):

“Biden’s strategy of restraint, hoping not to provoke Vladimir Putin, hasn’t worked. Putin has increased his own troop deployment on three different fronts on the borders with Ukraine. (…)

The heart of Biden’s foreign policy program was to revitalize US alliances, but countries do not have allies for allies’ sake. The President has invested in maintaining relations with Berlin, but has little to show for it. He can make it clear that closer ties depend on Germany’s cooperation on the Ukraine issue. This means urging the German government to support tougher sanctions and allow third-country arms exports to Ukraine.

The US doesn’t have to fight in Ukraine, but it can do more to help this democratic nation defend itself. This means deploying anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, as well as air defense, maritime security and reconnaissance support.”

“The Vanguard” (Barcelona):

“Russia carries weight in the world. The Soviet legacy has brought it military, nuclear and cyber power, as well as the space program. Territorial expansion as the largest country in the world and gas reserves are also very valuable. Russia can also pursue an effective alliance policy: Moscow’s Getting closer to China is not good news, but economically Russia is a small country with a population equivalent to only 31 percent of Europe’s (EU 27) population and a GDP only 15 percent larger than Spain’s it is anything but a great power. Russia cannot afford a serious conflict with the West on the basis of a military threat: it cannot win. Fortunately, the West can afford to end the conflict solely in the form of economic retaliation and defensive military assistance for the attacked country.”

“Last News from Alsace” (Straßburg):

“The air is so charged and there are so many weapons in place that it takes just a tiny spark to ignite the entire region. The hypothesis of open war between the two blocs seemed theoretical for a long time. It is now “Not any more. Although the meaning of the term has yet to be understood. Because unless Russia unexpectedly launches a general offensive to take all of Ukraine, the West’s response will not be military.”

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