• Germany's news in English
 
jobs_header_v3

Has Merkel's Russia policy failed?

The Local · 28 Aug 2014, 16:13

Published: 28 Aug 2014 16:13 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Karl-Georg Wellmann, a foreign policy expert for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said on Thursday Russian troop movements in Ukraine showed Russia was trying to establish a land strip in the south of the country via Odessa to the breakaway republic of Transnistria in Moldova.

He called for further sanctions against Russia and more Nato troops to be stationed in eastern member states.

“Russia is showing itself to be a country which doesn’t adhere to European norms and uses military force to achieve foreign policy objectives,” he told Handelsblatt Online.

Merkel, who held a conference in Berlin on Thursday on the west Balkans, earlier called for an explanation from Russia's President Vladimir Putin amid the reports of an incursion by Russian soldiers.

Russia has responded by denying an invasion, but Nato believes at least 1,000 Russian troops are operating in the country. Pro-Russian separatists are now making gains in the south of Ukraine, opening up a second front in the war.

Ulrich Speck, a visiting scholar at think-tank Carnegie Europe, said Russia’s latest move showed the failure of Merkel’s policy towards Russia.

“She was pretending that both sides were not much more than concerned neighbours. In combination with sanctions, this was supposed to provide Putin with an exit option - the possibility to step back and to accept that he cannot 'own' Ukraine,” he wrote on Facebook.

“The West hasn't much choice but to step up sanctions. The US and the EU have from the beginning ruled out military involvement on the side of Ukraine. Economic pressure is the only tool it has.

“And the German approach now looks like a failure. It was worth trying nevertheless. And it may have minimized Russian involvement in the last months, it may have led Putin to take a low profile.

“But given the latest developments on the ground, to pretend that Russia is nothing but a concerned neighbor starts to become impossible.

“Putin wants back control over Ukraine, or at least prevent the emergence of a successful, democratic, western-oriented neighbour.

“The West has no Plan B. Merkel's tactics of using carrots and sticks had the great advantage that it was 'sellable' domestically: to her coalition partner in Germany, the SPD, and in the EU to countries like France, Spain and Italy which are muss less concerned about Russian neo-imperialism than Germany or Poland is.

“A more robust tactic by contrast won't fly in Germany or in the EU. Everything that looks as if it increases the risk of direct military confrontation with Russia is going to be vetoed immediately.” 

Nato is holding a summit in Wales next week where it will discuss its response to the crisis. Merkel is expected to attend along with leaders and ministers from 60 other countries. 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Nazi POW leaves estate to 'kind' Scottish village
The former German soldier stayed on to work in the Perthshire village for a time after the war. Photo: Andy Buchanan / AFP file picture

A former Nazi prisoner of war has left his entire estate in his will to a small village in Scotland to show his appreciation for the kindness he received there during his captivity.

US tries to block Chinese purchase of Aixtron
Photo: Oliver Berg / DPA / AFP

US President Barack Obama on Friday moved to block a Chinese company's purchase of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron by rejecting the inclusion of Aixtron's US business in the deal.

Merkel to chart 2017 election battle at party congress
Photo: Tobias Schwarz / AFP

After Donald Trump's shock victory, Francois Hollande's decision not to seek re-election and populism on the rise, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is next up on the campaign podium to set out her strategy for winning in 2017 polls.

Berlin vs Munich: whose newborn polar bear is cuter?
Berlin's (left) and Munich's (right) newborn bears. Photos: Tierpark Berlin / DPA

Both city zoos welcomed baby polar bears into the world in November, with Berlin zoo its releasing first photos on Friday. But which one is more adorable?

Learn how to speak German like a silver screen icon
Dirty Harry. Photo: DPA

We all agree that there is no other option than to learn irregular German verbs by rote. But when you want a bit of downtime, why not learn from your big screen heroes?

Stolen Dachau 'Work will set you free' gate found: police
The entrance to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Photo: DPA

An iron gate from the former Nazi concentration camp in Germany's Dachau with the slogan "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work will set you free") has been found two years after it was stolen, police said Friday.

Mystery flight path artist draws new message in sky
Photo: DPA

A pilot who likes to draw patterns in the sky using his flight path has returned with his greatest artwork yet.

Berlin 'abusing power' to stop Snowden coming to Germany
Edward Snowden. Photo: DPA

Opposition parties have accused the coalition government of overstepping its authority in its attempt to block American whistleblower Edward Snowden's trip to Germany.

Germany gains record number of Michelin-star restaurants
Head of the Michelin Guide, Michael Ellis (centre) with Michelin-star chefs at a presentation in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Germany had a slew of newly minted Michelin-star restaurants this year, and its top-rated establishments held onto their prestigious three stars.

At last: Germany passes major disabled rights reform
People in wheelchairs watch as the German parliament deliberates on the new disability rights reform. Photo: DPA.

For years people with disabilities in Germany have called for legislation to provide them with better benefits and opportunities in life and work. On Thursday the German parliament passed such a reform - but is it enough?

Lifestyle
10 German Christmas cookies you have to bake this winter
Sponsored Article
The key to launching your international career
Lifestyle
Our 10-step guide for doing Christmas just like a German
National
Here's why so many Germans vote for the far-right AfD
National
7 events in Germany that'll make December unforgettable
Lifestyle
7 frosty German sayings to make you a winter wordsmith
National
This is how unequal German society has become
National
Six things you should know about the Lufthansa strike
National
9 ways living in Germany will make you a better person
National
These 10 German Christmas markets cannot be missed
Features
8 German words that unlock amazing secrets in English
Culture
10 German words with simply hilarious literal translations
Lifestyle
7 things Germans do that make foreigners feel awkward
International
Why Donald Trump's grandad was booted out of Germany
National
This is what is really inside your Döner kebab
National
Rejoice! Christmas markets start opening across Germany
Education
These German universities are best at landing you a job
Travel
Why Heidelberg is Germany's most inspiring city
Lifestyle
This soppy German Christmas ad will bring you to tears
National
Here's where Germans speak the best (and worst) English
Culture
10 German books you have to read before you die
Culture
U-Bahn train found filled with autumn foliage in Berlin
Features
Seven German words that unlock amazing secrets about English
Travel
Germany's ten most beautiful towns you've never visited
6,591
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd