Crisis as Opportunity

MINSK/BERLIN (Own report) – At Berlin’s insistence, the EU foreign ministers decided, Monday, to temporarily suspend EU sanctions on Belarus, at least for the next four months. Because of the Ukrainian conflict, Minsk is confronting grave economic and foreign policy difficulties. Because of Russia’s economic crisis, Belarusian imports have been drastically reduced and Minsk is forced to seek alternate markets. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is also worried that Russia’s overwhelming power could threaten Belarus’ independence and therefore, is actively intensifying his own foreign policy initiatives. To acquire alternate markets and maintain its independence, Minsk cannot avoid reinforcing its relations to the West. Berlin’s political establishment is closely monitoring these developments. There is an opportunity for “successfully implementing structural changes” in Belarus, as experts declared just before Sunday’s presidential elections. In the hope of weakening Minsk’s ties to Moscow and strengthening its bonds to the western hegemonic sphere, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier made a plea for suspending the sanctions. Berlin’s political PR is ill at ease with this year’s Nobel Literature Prize laureate, Svetlana Alexievich’s warning to maintain sanctions – in conformity with EU policy until now.

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Vladimir Putin says Russia was preparing to use nuclear weapons ‘if necessary’ and blames US for Ukraine crisis in Crimea documentary

While this ‘news’ hits the press one has to question the timing. He’s been gone since March 5th and the Kremlin needs some Russian propaganda to remind people he (or someone/something) is still in control.

 

Vladimir Putin has said Russia was so fearful of attack at the height of the Ukraine crisis that it was preparing to arm its nuclear weapons, in extraordinary claims aired on state TV on Sunday night.

Amid ongoing Russian media speculation that the President was watching the Crimea documentary from his sickbed, Mr Putin’s full interview with Rossiya One provided new insight into his country’s involvement in the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula. Continue reading

Russia ‘completely ending’ activities under Conventional Armed Forces in Europe treaty

Moscow has announced it is “completely” ending activities under the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). Russia’s participation in the treaty was first halted in 2007.

The Russian Federation has taken the decision to halt its participation in meetings of the [consulting group] from March 11, 2015. Therefore, Russia is ending its actions in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, announced in 2007, completely,” a statement from the Foreign Ministry said.

Moscow has asked Belarus to represent Russia’s interests in the group starting from Wednesday, the statement said. Continue reading

The Telegraph Warns of Russia Invading Baltic States

The Telegraph warned last week that Russia may invade the Baltic states. The article, “Putin Could Attack Baltic States Warns Former NATO Chief” detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desire to reach beyond Ukraine into the Baltic states to test the West’s resolve in upholding Article 5 of the nato agreement.

Article 5 states that an attack on one nato member is an attack on all nato members. nato members are bound to collectively respond to the threat. So far, the only time Article 5 has been enacted was following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. Had Ukraine been part of nato when attacked last year, all of nato would have been expected to respond with force against Russia. Continue reading