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Sanctions on Moscow and Arms for Kiev Won’t Resolve Ukraine Crisis, German Lawmaker Says

© REUTERS / VALENTYN OGIRENKOUkrainian service members unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered by plane as part of the U.S. military support package for Ukraine, at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine February 10, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Ukrainian service members unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered by plane as part of the U.S. military support package for Ukraine, at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine February 10, 2022.  REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2022
Germany joined its US and European allies in slapping new sanctions on Moscow, and moved to mothball the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline over the Russian step to recognize the Donbass republics as independent states. The crisis has also prompted Berlin to reverse course on its long-standing policy of refraining from the delivery of lethal arms to Kiev.
Flooding Ukraine with weapons and placing new restrictions on Russia will only serve to prolong the current crisis, but will not resolve it, Die Linke (The Left) Bundestag MP Sahra Wagenknecht has said.
“Every day people are dying in Ukraine. There is endless suffering and the country is being destroyed further and further. Neither sanctions nor arms deliveries will stop this horror. If you want to end it, you have to negotiate,” the lawmaker said in an interview with Welt published Monday.
Commenting on the peace terms presented by the Russian side last week, including Ukraine’s demilitarization and neutral status, Wagenknecht suggested that these were a good jumping off point for negotiations.
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“The military says Ukraine cannot win this war. Anyone who wants Russian troops to withdraw must therefore offer something to Russia. Guaranteed neutrality would be reasonable for many reasons. What demilitarization means is something that must be negotiated,” the lawmaker said.
“The Russian criticism has always referred to the effort to arm Ukraine with offensive weapons, and the country’s creeping integration into NATO. After all, there were already 2,000 US soldiers in Ukraine, and NATO exercises were taking place on its territory,” Wagenknecht said. “The promise of NATO membership did not help Ukraine,” she added.
The lawmaker suggested that a negotiated solution to the current crisis is possible only if both sides are ready to “move towards one another” and agree to compromise.
Asked to justify Die Linke’s continued refusal to support the government’s policy of sending arms to Ukraine, Wagenknecht said she believes the arms being sent to Kiev today are only “prolonging the conflict, but will not result in Ukraine winning it. To do that, NATO would have to get involved militarily in a way that all sensible politicians have so far ruled out – because it would mean a direct confrontation with Russia, and Europe could become a nuclear battlefield. Therefore, any step in this direction would be irresponsible.”
Last week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz committed to spend an additional 100 billion euros ($113 billion) on the military, with spending including the purchase of dozens of F-35A fighter jets.
This file photo taken on June 7, 2019 shows a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet parked on the tarmac at the Payerne Air Base as a Boeing McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet takes off in the background, during flight and ground tests. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2022
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In her interview with Welt, Wagenknecht expressed doubts that new military spending could resolve the country’s security problems. “We need a Bundeswehr that can defend our country. If they can’t do that with the current 47 billion euro military budget, where is the money going? NATO countries are already spending 18 times as much on armaments as Russia. Apart from the weapons makers, who will benefit if [we soon spend] 30 times as much?” she asked.
Suggesting that Die Linke had been “wrong” in its assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Wagenknecht argued that Cold War security specialist George Kennan was right to warn against NATO expansion and the reaction it would inevitably provoke from Russia. “We need disarmament and common security. Nothing has changed about the fact that we cannot wage war against a nuclear power,” the politician said.
“Germany has a fundamental interest in stable relations with Russia and also in future economic and cultural cooperation. It always makes sense to try to understand the motives of the other side, which does not mean that you approve of them,” Wagenknecht concluded.
Germany jumped on the bandwagon of slapping new sanctions against Russia by Western countries over its decision to recognize the Donbass republics as independent states, and Moscow’s subsequent military operation in Ukraine. Leaders and Germany, the United States and other countries have admitted that their own economies will be hit by the restrictions, but have so far maintained that the economic price is worth it in the interests of defending “freedom and democracy.” Both Europe and the US have been hit with skyrocketing natural gas and oil prices, notwithstanding Russia’s promise to continue to deliver energy supplies to customers.
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