Vladimir Putin has called 300,000 reservists to arms. The German press is not impressed by this and is demanding that it now really stand by Ukraine’s side. The New York Times, however, sees “the most dangerous Putin”.
New York Times: Vladimir Putin’s speech turned a war of aggression against a neighboring country into a war of defense for the motherland. This tale resonates with the Russians. And Putin’s speech was a clear warning to the West. “This is not a bluff,” Putin said, meaning that trying to weaken or defeat Russia could provoke a nuclear response. A cornered Putin is the most dangerous.”
“Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung”: It remains true that such a dangerous character as Putin is unreachable for reason, peace and freedom and only understands one language: resistance. The time is fast approaching when the words will be followed by controversial weapons. The NATO states continue to come under pressure to deliver Western-style main battle tanks directly to Kyiv. Chancellor Olaf Scholz never said he would not deliver Leopard 2 tanks. He just said he doesn’t go it alone. At the moment when the USA would be ready to do so, Germany should also be there.
“Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”: The West has international law and morality on its side. But US President Joe Biden must not misjudge: Putin still has one of the largest armies in the world – with an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction that is easily enough to end the war in Ukraine in a few hours. With the annexation of the occupied territories, Putin creates the conditions to justify the use of tactical nuclear weapons according to Russian military doctrine. That would be a terrible war crime. But would Putin have any qualms about going to extremes?
“Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”: In the struggle with Putin, the West will only remain a credible opponent if it actually continues to support Ukraine, at least to the same extent as it has to date. If he allows himself to be blackmailed by nuclear weapons from Putin, then he no longer needs to say anything about the rule-based world order that needs to be defended, not even to all other dictators.
But not least in Germany, in view of Putin’s threat, the temptation could grow again to come to an arrangement with Moscow at the expense of the Ukrainians, to which the pompous and false title “Land against peace” (and gas!) could be attached. Such appeasement would be a betrayal of one’s own values and interests. But isn’t anything better than nuclear war? This question can only be answered with yes.
“Rhein-Zeitung”: With his maneuvers, Putin has not only achieved the opposite of what was announced in Russia and on the front in Ukraine, but also in the attitude of Western leaders. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who just avoided the determination of who would have to win the war, now says: “If we want Putin’s war to end, then we can’t be indifferent to how it ends.”
It is the same Scholz who has so far not wanted to hand over Western battle tanks to Ukraine so as not to provide an excuse for Putin to escalate. Now Putin is escalating anyway. Putin is still counting on turning the mood in the West around and ultimately being able to prevail with the staying power. The West, with forced support from Ukraine, has it in its own hands to close this terrible chapter.
“Stuttgarter Zeitung”: Vladimir Putin has long been telling Russians that the world is conspiring against Russia. Now it’s about protecting the fatherland. And because the Kremlin chief is a shrewd tactician, the country’s borders are rapidly being expanded. That can catch.
“Nürnberger Zeitung”: In view of this situation, the additional Russian troops are unlikely to show much enthusiasm about being sent into a conflict for which they can hardly understand the reasoning. With a reference to the partial mobilization, however, borders can be closed and accounts blocked by the Russian side. The Russian people will feel the war approaching. We are very far away from negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. With the partial mobilization of regular troops, Putin is putting everything on one card. It is to be hoped that it does not sting.
“Allgemeine Zeitung” (Mainz): The goal is clear: after the pseudo-referendums, the regions in eastern Ukraine will be declared Russian territory – and every attack on Donetsk, Luhansk, Cherson and Zaporizhia an attack on Russia. And finally, the Ukrainian troops are defamed as invaders, although they only defend parts of their national territory and try to go further on the offensive there. This also has consequences for the West: it can also be declared an aggressor and opponent of the war in Kremlin propaganda because of its arms deliveries to the Ukrainian army. It is unclear what can follow from this.
“Süddeutsche Zeitung”: For many years, and from the point of view of many Russians they were quite successful, Vladimir Putin’s contract with the population was that the Kremlin would deliver prosperity and stability and that the Russians would refrain from any critical or political activities worth mentioning in return. It was a pact that was never fully endorsed, but which, to the dismay of many Western observers, retained some widespread effect even after the invasion of Ukraine. This pact has now been terminated unilaterally. The illusion that war has no consequences can no longer be sustained.
“Badische Zeitung” (Freiburg): If the West wants to remain credible, it has little choice but to continue to support Kyiv militarily. Anything else would mean giving in to Putin’s nuclear blackmail. Who would then oppose Russia when there are land grabs going on elsewhere? What lessons would Iran or North Korea draw from this? A world in which nuclear powers threaten World War III to advance their interests is certainly not a more peaceful one.