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tv   Corona Spezial  Deutsche Welle  April 15, 2021 9:30pm-10:01pm CEST

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the discovery. will. subscribe to the documentary to. tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy weaponry the russian buildup on the border to ukraine looks more like preparations for invasion than the standard military exercise that russia claims it's conducting and it is the most massive show of force since russia's 2014 an accession of crimea and since then russia has been deploying mercenaries volunteers and local collaborators to wage hybrid warfare in eastern ukraine now kiddo for along with europe and the u.s. fear a dramatic escalation in violence nato and europe are urging russia to stand down
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and we ask russia ukraine crisis what does putin want. to. think on. the economy hello and welcome to the point it's a pleasure to welcome our guests zena dong flute is a freelance journalist who has reported extensively on and from russia for german public broadcasters she says we have seen that all before the kremlin triggers an escalation then blames the west but moscow was the aggressor and there must be consequences and i'm very glad to welcome others under our he's an author and analyst who also does political consulting for russian firms including cost he says the phone call between presidents biden and putin helped to deescalate the crisis and avoid it pos. simple full blown conflict and joining us virtually from d.w.
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is bond bureau is my colleague roman gonchar manco he's an editor in our russian department and was born in the ukraine region of what was then the soviet union he says russia is using bullying tactics to press ahead with its creating an accession of donbass ukraine must stay calm. so let me begin by asking all 3 of you whether you think this is mostly just saber rattling or indeed something more and because in a drawn through to your opening statement certainly suggests you see a very real danger of a russian offensive. well not necessarily i think it's saber wrestling and it's yeah directed for impressing the west it's a sick nod to the west and presidents a lansky from ukraine and. i think russia is trying to build up the
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stakes and all that to have a better position for further. what is $101.00 for. the eastern ukraine exact as a negotiating card you also said in your opening statement that there must be consequences crisis but the kremlin says look we have every right to move our forces within our own territory these forces are still on russian territory what would you say to that yeah that's not exactly true because within the see there are mechanisms and they are blige every participant and every member state to make transparent if you have such movements of troops especially close to your neighbors countries so this is only this is not true. and the consequences i think the west should send a clear message a very clear and united message to its mosco that moscow is the aggressor and they
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stand in solidarity with ukraine thank you very much alexander your opening statement referred to the call between biden and put in which biden apparently offered to meet with putin sometime in the next couple of months so would you say this is mostly about testing the new u.s. president. i think it's a sincere wish of biden and probably and hopefully. to meet together looking at each other into the eyes tackle the problems and try to discuss it because the russian side fully understands that the key for some kind of a stable relationship. in the west and russia lies not in brussels not in berlin not in paris but in washington and in order to negotiate on the future of european security architecture on everything you have to talk to the american president and biden also understands and i think he has a lot of support of consultants are telling him this don't drive russia into the
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arms of china the main adversary of the united states is china russia and here biden wants to tackle of course the problems with find out how far he can go in order indeed to deescalate or in turn to do then confrontation of that was russia i assume that you followed russian media after this phone call they some at least suggested it was a real climb down by biden what makes you think that the call had a deescalating effect for moscow. well one thing is what the. commentator sort of bore but i'm pretty sure that in the kremlin of those people who are responsible for this decision taking in russia. this statement of biden that he wants to meet putin has been welcomed. but it makes russia specht of partner it makes russia. look strong on the international agenda it doesn't isolate
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russia the greatest fear of russia to be isolated to be completely neglected to be disrespected by the west and here by this gesture by and to meet maybe in geneva or in vienna in the next weeks i think it will happen and biden will meet the russian leader before he meets european leaders in paris and berlin or in brussels as a sign which russia cannot ignore and i want to come back to that a little bit later on but let me go now to. your opening statement refers to the creeping alex ation of the eastern ukrainian region of donbass in fact an all out invasion is. not generally moscow style until now. infiltration hybrid warfare has been their preferred methods so do you think that is changing would you expect to see a true military offensive here. i would not exclude that but i think it's about
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80 percent or 70 percent and. muscle flexing. and threatening ukraine and the west and what 20 or 30 percent maybe military escalation i don't believe in a full scale invasion just like we saw in korea mere for them for several reasons i think. a strategic aim of putin and russia is to weaken ukraine to prevent it from joining nato and e.u. probably to divide ukraine into several states and to to create a new ukraine so which would be a russia friendly this is i think that's a russian strategy but at the moment on the technical level i think russia is trying to negotiate with america with the new administration of president biden and this is i would say russian style invitation to a conversation we should remember that just a few weeks ago at the u.s. president u.s. president in
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a television interview. said yes putting is a killer he didn't say the word killer himself but he responded positively to the question and this is something which irritates me approaching very much and i think it's played a certain role in the kremlin's decision to escalate now but the problem is much deeper i think there are several problems in eastern ukraine which putin doesn't like and wants ukraine to move and to yield to russian wishes the west is not behaving like russia would like it to and maybe also putting seize an opportunity in the general geopolitical. a consolation because in the us we have a new administration which is not quite strong enough we have in germany angela merkel the chancellor who is going yeah and it's not clear who will be our and there is a pandemic in the world to the world to use it weakened by the paid pandemic
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ukraine is very weak so this is just a chance and putin is known to be someone who uses the chances were on the other thank you very much and i want to come back to some of the points that you made but 1st let us take a closer look at what is going on in eastern ukraine instability in the dunn bass region actually goes back 7 years following the russian an expansion of crimea pro russian separatists in the eastern part of the country seized a large swathe of territory fighting there began escalating in february of this year and for weeks now russia has been deploying additional troops to its side of the border. according to the ukrainian government russia has deployed up to 40000 troops to the border with eastern ukraine russian state television reports that this move is a response to provocations by ukraine while russian military maneuvers on the crimean peninsula annexed by russia continue. both sides are playing with fire
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ukrainian president selenski wants to show strength as he visits his troops. what is clear to everyone is that if our soldiers are attacked if there are casualties diminish then we have to fight back if you put it that. this congress that memories from 2014 when russian soldiers were also stationed at the border supporting pro russian separatists in eastern ukraine who sought independent status 14000 people died in the conflict and there is a living fear that this could happen again a previously agreed peace deal has so far failed to be implemented. the destruction we are afraid for our children i have another 5 year old in kindergarten how are they supposed to cope we are afraid of every noise or use if there is a loud noise somewhere the children get scared and hide. is a russian attack on ukraine imminent. let's
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drill a little bit deeper on what we can discern about russia's strategy here i actually have seen some commentators suggesting that an attack couldn't be imminent simply because the conditions on the ground would be so problematic at the moment in terms of weather and and so that troops would get bugged out you know that's something i read too in april it's not the best month but you never know i mean nobody expected in 2014 that russia would and explain crimea and that it would send its troops and most to the dawn so you never know. think about the motives that might be one motive for real invasion of this concept crimea and the water supply so right now the only contacts are connection between the opponents of law and russia bridge the new birth bridge and crimea has acute while the surprise supply problem and maybe this is why russia would like to have
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a land corridor who crimea but this is speculation and indeed there are many other motives for just saber wrestling indeed so let's talk about some of those as well alexander carr report pointed out that ukraine also has been deploying additional troops to the region and in fact president selenski rather ostentatiously took a c.n.n. camera team with him to the front lines does ukraine bear at least some responsibility for this escalation of things the same part of the same responsibility as russia because a crane is also building up its military presence at the boss and in my view it was indians get solved that while president trump ex-president trump was not interested in the crane he may now gets more support including weapons weapon deliveries from that it states he hopes the united states will help him maybe in a certain way to get back to the crimea at least he sees his timetable and he wants
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to secure his interest or the trains interest in this in this manner for russia the main multi-faith of what they are doing is to prevent nato expansion to crane and therefore they want to keep creating a split country they want to threaten also the west that each side each step towards more membership will create a nato will bring more confrontation of the west or nato with russia sorry to sorry to direct if i may because i think it's not acceptable to say that both ukraine and russia are in the same time responses. for this may be a new escalation because presidents events cue said that yes we would like to defend we will of course defend our land in case of an aggression he didn't not say that he would try to get crimea and the dawn boss backed by falls and on the other hand you have these many thousands 10001000 of thousands of troops on the russian side so you can compare that let me ask roaming to come in on this same point roman
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you said in your opening statement you cautioned ukraine to stay calm but going to the front lines with a c.n.n. camera team doesn't exactly fit that description i would say do you see ukraine as bearing at least responsibility for provocation an escalation. well i don't see any point in. i don't see any proof of ukraine escalating because you cannot compare the forces of your crime in russia militarily and financially and what we've seen so far in the in the years before and in the days and weeks before this escalation was the. wish of the persian separatists who are backed by russia militarily. to to to start a fire power and by caution in ukraine i mean ukraine should be very careful not
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to. to create a situation like we had in georgia in 2008 when we had some weeks of fighting in a region of south ossetia and then the georgia decided we will try to liberate as they say the president saakashvili said that region and russia of course was nearby was ready in a standby motos and then the invasion was legitimized so to say yes and this is this is what russia maybe would like to see in ukraine as well russia would like to see ukraine make a mistake and maybe let itself be provoked by by the fighting of the recent weeks and this is this is probably the biggest danger and the biggest challenge for the ukrainian government but i don't see any proof or any any evidence that ukraine might do that because if you if you take a c.n.n. camera team with you you're just trying to show to the world you're trying to use
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the media ukrainian president is a media medium and he's a media and he used to be a comedian he used to be a television star so that's what he does and what he can what he cannot do is a military style do anything charlie is you know let me ask you this the fact is the conflict in eastern ukraine is mainly russian speaking and many of its residents now have russian passports. russia says that if these citizens are in danger and it must protect them that is a rationale for military intervention that we have heard before is it justified. no it's not but the russia did of the preparations and they have the laws that apply to them even to protect their citizens even abroad but the key question is very is the danger of that they will be. killed by
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nationalists are other people so aggressive people this is not right to have that russia is spreading that mosco spreading by even comparing the situation in eastern ukraine with those. on the balkans which is disgusting from mine part of you so this is a stretch of the strategy used by moscow and not only in iowa and on past but it has been used before in georgia with a posse and south of city. in february alexander president selenski took measures to silence 3 pro russian broadcasters in ukraine and also to sanction the oligarchy who owns them that all of our captains to have close ties to put in is the russian troop buildup partly a message to the selenski that he went too far in essentially trying to shut down russian propaganda machines things of messages more to the west no nato crane as i
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said before but indeed i think it was a big mistake of it to close down the. television stations to broadcast in russia because still in eastern ukraine and more people live in eastern ukraine than in the west will create a crane move the tent to listen also to russian programs and that steers more tension inside the country. and brings the escalation so i hope that this mistake somehow will be taken back and what i think it's tremendously important is that approach and meet because they. form a different format or the minsk format this meetings with the germans and french they didn't materialize the didn't bring more progress for peace so let's see how to develop probably united states will now enters a piece of peace process in the minsk after after the meeting between biden and
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sports and this will be a james game changer in which way it will be successful that's a big question i want to come back i have to say were about those 2 the vision channels they were broadcasting in ukraine and those 3 channels but they had links to russia that's for sure and there are still other channels in ukraine that broadcast in russian language and mostly appeal to a very. eastern and southern ukraine where people speak russian still thank you very much and those formats that you mentioned normandy minsk and so on these are of course formats that try to bring other european powers as well into the conversation in hopes of getting a real peace process going but so far with notably limited results so let's talk about the international aspect of this conflict and briefly if you would in fact ukraine is literally caught between the fronts of old military blocs the western
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defense alliance nato which ukraine would like to join and russia. russian president putin is celebrating the 7th anniversary of the annexation of crimea the strategically important peninsula located in the black sea despite the sanctions imposed by the west who have not changed its policy russian soldiers are once again . stationed on the ukrainian border and once again they are waiting on help from the west which was discussed at a nato meeting for foreign ministers in brussels. without. the largest concentration. of forces on the borders and 243. that is a deep concern. not only to the brain but the united states and indeed. by the loss of. the united states has actually sent worship's to monitor the situation russia is responding with a military maneuver. oh sure there were 3 doing what is the us doing with it ships
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and soldiers who are constantly engaging in some kind of activity outside of nato the borders in ukraine thousands of kilometers away from their own territory this question has not been answered it's a good thing it also raises the question how far will nato go to help ukraine. and let me put that question straight away to you because you know the russian build up past provoked strong words from the u.s. and nato but with a follow up with action in ukraine of course is not a member of nato so there is no treaty obligation there there is not and if you mean by strong reaction if ukraine will be a member of nato very soon though it will and of course it will not and it's hasn't even been granted the membership action plan. he was a are talking about stronger sanctions and this is something what my dream to have
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like cutting off from the swiss system our banking international transfer system something like a roman chancellor merkel has called on the e.u. to react to events in eastern ukraine resolutely and unequivocally those were her words how could the e.u. and nato support ukraine short of sending in troops should include they send additional weapons should they in fact speed up the timetable for a ukrainian membership in nato what do you think. well at the moment i think. most things have been done so there were strong words and weapons were sold to ukraine in the past year so i don't think ukrainian army needs. something which which much might change the situation on the ground of course it would like to have a pattern of systems but i don't think the u.s. will go that far because that will provoke russia of course what what might be
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needed if we see an escalation and you military conflict and which will lead to ukraine losing more territory then i think you're europe and the west in general should think about strength training or. building new creating new sectoral sanctions against sectors of archon economy because this sort of has shown we have seen it in the past years the most the strongest instrument to influence russia not just viz r. and travel bans but sectoral sanctions but only if we see an escalation of the moment we're not there yet let me stay with the question of sanctions and and ask you alexander the u.s. and the if you have actually enacted multiple rounds of sanctions against russia in past years not only for the actions in crimea but also for the poisoning of the outs in the valley the opposition. politician and also former spy sergey
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schiphol the u.s. is apparently about to impose new sanctions for cyber warfare and interference in u.s. elections so does any of this any of these sanctions have any real influence on moscow's behavior not at all and i think that will have a completely different agenda of russia and the e.u. will start cooperating on the next in sport maybe for europe and i also think that for the americans the main event adverse a real global stage is not rush about china. and therefore. biden doesn't want to risk sending more troops to crane a weapon still crane all his military apparatus and military machine in europe whether neglect is a situation which can. in china clearly biden is willing to impose additional sanctions because it seems he's about to do so. what do you think how
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strong is the u.s. resolve to support ukraine we have heard that those warships that were supposedly going to be transferred dispatched to the black sea turkey says that deployment has been canceled not exactly but in fact the u.s. never had the open view that they sent it so there was very much as unclear and the only sources we used a word of the circus. that would come these was so. i think it's a very clever reaction by biden by. offering a dialogue and at the same time giving clear advice. on something. one sentence if you would is it time for germany to finally put the north stream gas pipeline project with russia on ice. i think this will be decided by the new german german government in in order to march to the parliamentary elections and we
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should stop talking about it because it's not possible to do it at the moment thank you very much to you for being with us from thanks to the others in the studio and all of you out there thanks for joining us see you soon.
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the book. the book. the big . this is the w. news lawyer from berlin tonight the u.s. secretary of state makes an unannounced visit to afghanistan. afghan officials plans to withdraw all troops by september surprise came just hours after he was president fighting and announced plans to. longest war also coming up tonight reports its highest number. in 3 months warning hospitals are feeling. people soon be.

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