The Die Welt newspaper made a reference to Zbigniew Brzezinski, the late Polish-born former US national security adviser, who it said viewed Ukraine as a key country in world politics.
Brzezinski, who was US national security adviser during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, was quoted as saying once that “without Ukraine, Russia is not a Eurasian superpower anymore.”
This remark explains what’s at stake in an escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Die Welt reported in an article penned by its Warsaw correspondent Philipp Fritz.
“It’s not just about Ukraine’s independence, but about how to ensure security in Europe in the coming decades and, more importantly, what sort of order will prevail on the continent and what will be Moscow’s influence over it,” Fritz wrote in his Die Welt article, as quoted by the dw.com website.
According to Fritz, Russia, Ukraine and the United States "are all aware of these considerations, unlike the country which, in Brzezinski’s view, has been setting the tone in Europe’s development after the collapse of the Soviet Union - namely Germany,” dw.com reported.
Concerns over Nord Stream 2
Fritz argues in his article that the German federal government "has offended many partners in a short period of time," according to dw.com.
Berlin refused to send weapons to Ukraine, while Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach, a former chief of the German navy, heaped praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin, among other developments, all of which “severely undermined trust in German policy,” Fritz wrote, as quoted by dw.com.
This is especially true of the partner countries of Central and Eastern Europe, “which have long warned about Russia using its energy reserves as a weapon against Europe,” the journalist added, according to dw.com.
Fritz wrote that many of these concerns currently focus on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is designed to carry natural gas directly from Russia to Germany while bypassing Ukraine.
He observed that the fears of Central and Eastern European states could soon turn into reality. “Russian threats are already having a devastating effect on the Ukrainian economy,” he wrote, as quoted by dw.com.
Trade and security
According to Fritz, “countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltic states, viewed as an economic area, are already as important as China or the United States” for Germany as a major trade player.
He added, as quoted by dw.com: “Berlin must finally support its trade policy with security policy - in its own interest and in the interest of Europe."
This could include “providing weapons to Ukraine, sending additional troops to NATO’s eastern flank, and threatening Moscow with acute sanctions,” as well as demanding that the Kremlin “stop supporting the torture-using regime in Belarus and withdraw from Syria,” Fritz was quoted as saying.
“Berlin would do well to adopt the Polish perspective on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict,” Fritz also said in his article, according to dw.com.
He added: “Polish politicians are right to be wary of Russia’s hostile gestures because Warsaw knows that having control over the belt between the Black and Baltic Seas has always enabled Moscow to influence European politics.”
Meanwhile, “for Ukrainians, Poles and Balts this meant a loss of sovereignty or even being sent to a gulag,” he wrote.
“But Russia hasn’t always held sway over this region,” Fritz noted, pointing to the era of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from the late 16th century to the late 18th century and the period between the 1990s and the present, dw.com reported.
Fritz also argued that “Berlin must dramatically change its policy” because “from 2008 onwards, Russia has been pursuing a neo-imperial one."
He added: “It’s time to adopt an interest-based approach - others have done so already,” dw.com reported.
Source: dw.com, pap.pl