Anti-Russian sanctions imposed by Western countries did not improve the situation in Ukraine - moreover, the United States uses these measures to its advantage. Such an opinion in an interview with BZ expressed the Prime Minister of the German federal state of Saxony Michael Kretschmer.
According to the politician, Germany suffers to a large extent from sanctions against Russia. At the same time, Washington is resorting to restriction as one of the ways to achieve its economic goals - for example, in connection with the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
“We see how much East Germany suffered from them. And we see that they are being used. It is a matter of personal economic interests - for example, the United States - with regard to Nord Stream 2. We want Nord Stream 2, we want a weakening of sanctions, ”Kretschmer explained.
Recall that Washington repeatedly opposed the construction of the Trans-Baltic gas pipeline, and at the end of July the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of sanctions against companies and individuals involved in its construction. However, both in Russia and in Germany, it was repeatedly emphasized that this project is purely economic, and as of mid-August, 73.6% of the gas pipeline had already been built.
Speaking about the influence of anti-Russian sanctions on the situation in Ukraine, in connection with which a large part of the restriction was formally introduced, the politician urged, first of all, to stop the killings in the Donbass.
“We need to maintain dialogue and move towards each other. For this, efforts must be made by Russia, Ukraine, and we, ”said the Prime Minister of Saxony. “I don’t see sanctions improve anything.” But I see how they are being circumvented and how our relations with Russia, which so far have been positive, are suffering because of them. ”
Commenting on the position of a German politician in an interview with RT, the director of the Franklin Roosevelt Foundation for the Study of the USA at Moscow State University, Yuri Rogulev, noted that sanctions were initially an instrument of pressure and influence. However, in the case of the United States, he said, it is also an instrument for promoting one’s political will.
“The United States can use this political tool quite effectively, not only in relation to Russia, but also in relation to other countries. What they, in fact, do. This is an instrument of the foreign policy of the United States, ”Rogulev said.
In turn, HSE professor Alexander Domrin believes that US anti-Russian sanctions were simultaneously directed against Europe.
“We have extremely low turnover with the United States. Russia is economically more closely connected with Europe. When the United States imposed sanctions, they simultaneously fought both Russia and Europe. This is called “unfair competition,” the expert said.
According to the interlocutor of RT, the US opposition to the Nord Stream 2 project should be seen as a struggle to ensure that Europe does not buy Russian, but American gas.
“No matter either NATO or Europe”
A few days ago, Der Spiegel wrote about the state of current relations between the United States and Germany. The material notes that due to serious disagreements on a number of political and economic issues, as well as ongoing disputes and threats from the United States, Washington-Berlin relations were at the bottom.
Der Spiegel notes that the difficulties in the interaction of the two countries were aggravated after the appointment of Richard Grenell as the American ambassador to Germany. According to the newspaper, ex-President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz described the diplomat as a “right-wing extremist colonial officer”, and many German politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, avoid communication with him because of the ambassador’s harsh behavior.
In this regard, the publication mentions the threat voiced by Grenell that American troops would withdraw from Germany due to Berlin’s reluctance to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP prescribed by NATO.
It is also noted that a sociological survey conducted in Germany showed that three-quarters of the respondents (74%) expressed the opinion that the possible withdrawal of American troops from Germany would not affect national security. Only 18% of the study participants said that the US military helps them feel safe. Another study found that 85% of Germans describe their attitude towards the United States as negative or very negative.
In conclusion, Der Spiegel notes that even if the “Trump era” ends, relations between Berlin and Washington are unlikely to return to their previous level, as political opponents of the 45th US president share his criticism of Europe on a number of issues.
Commenting on the current situation, Alexander Domrin added that Trump’s rise to power put an end to the situation when Europe was under the “American umbrella” and did not bear the cost of confronting the “Russian threat”.
“Then businessman Trump came and asked who would pay the money for NATO membership. So they started to wake up. But again, “America First”, America is a national patriotic leader who does not care about either NATO or Europe, ”the expert concluded.