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tv   Quadriga - International Debate from Berlin  LINKTV  May 8, 2022 10:30pm-11:01pm PDT

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with russia now pushing for full control of southern and eastern ukraine. western countries are ramping up military support for kiev supplying billions of euros worth of artillery tanks and drones, images of suffering death and destruction like these from maria paul or prompting western politicians to deliver not only military but also moral support by visiting embattled ukrainian leaders in kiev in the facof strong pressurto do more german chancellor, olaf schulz now pledges to supply heavier weapon like antiircraft tanksut says heon't be visiting kiev anytime soon. how far c and should western help go? we're asking war in ukraine, is the west
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already a party to the conflict? mhm, mm hmm. welcome to. to the point, it is a pleasure to introduce our guests. malta lemming is senior editor and author at to. to the point, it is a pleasure to introduce the berlin daily newspaper dia takas spiegel and we're very pleased to have with us, stephanie bops, she is a global policy y advisor who formerly headed nato's strategic foresight team and a warm welcome to carolina bigorre. she is a polish journalist who frequently comments for international media and is currently a fellow at the robert bosch academy and i'd like to begin with a look at where things stand at the moment. it's just about o weeks since the russian invasion entered a new phase that's focusing on southern
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and eastern ukraine, stephanie? you had, i think two decades of practicing strategic foresight for nato? so what's your take on the russian campaign. what do you think are the objectives now uh, for the time being. i think it's pretty clear that from a military point of view, russia seeks to conquer and ultimately also sustain control over the donbas and large parts of southern ukraine. i understand that's the quote unquote, minimal strategic objective that president putin um seeks to achieve. but broadly, more broadly speaking, what he has been advocated and said all along is he really wants to alter the political landscape the political map in europe, if need be by force. so he is still after a quote unquote direct confrontation with us. so does this look like to you? like, it would be from russia's point of view, a permanent occupation that they're striving
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for definitely. um if president putin uh could achieve the military objectives, which seemingly are quite hard to, to do let me to really conquer and ultimately sustained military control over the numbers and the southern part of ukraine, then ukraine would be basically reduced to a rump state without access to the share. um uh i mean to the black sea and also the ceo of us off. and that would really be quite hard for ukraine. speaking of the sea of azov, the ports city of maria pole and it's besieged as off style steelworks have become the focal point of ceaseless shelling in this new phase of the campaign for a few who had taken refuge there the ordeal ended this week before we continue, let's hear their voices arriving in separate asia, this made it all the way to this, ukrainian controlled town on their own
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not feeling well after so many days, mario pole has been under siege for weeks and is now largely devastated according to ukrainian estimates at least 20,000 civilians have been killed. why is mario pole so important to putin? and let me put that question straight away to carolina? why has mariupol become such a focal point that a soft
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steel works? what would be the significance for the russian campaign? the significance is symbolic. the russians have been so ineffective in occupying any of the ukrainian cities. in fact they have successfully only occupied her son. then mariupol is an extremely important part of this strategy, but i would like also to say that it's not only about strategic aims, right? because if it was only about strategic aims we would have a war that would be concentrated on occupying territories or cities, but we also have another goal which is simply destroying. and i think we should underline that because this is not only about a permanent russian presence in ukraine. this is not only about mariupol or any other city, this is also about permanent destroying of ukraine and i think it's extremely important. thank you for for that insight. malta analysts say that the russian forces don't appear to be doing a lot better at waging
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this part of the campaign than they did. the earlier one that again, we're seeing signs of ineffectiveness from a military point of view. what's your impression? yes, i i was i was surprised to i mean, most experts predicted that that in the first instance kiev would fall in between a couple of days. uh they they retreated from the whole area uh by saying that we can't we can't en go to kiev, we can't topple the government of zelensky. president zelensky. so what they're doing now is is to to do what what they are best in to just shoot and destroy cities, destroyed places, kill people and so it might be even inhabited lee for for for russian speaking inhabitants of the ukraine. so it's more destroying affair than a conquering affair. because what to conquer just land, land is nothing without industry without people without destroying affair than a conquering affair. because what to conquer
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anything you can do. so they are trying to to negate ukraine access to the black sea and to the eyes of c uh so the big question will be do they go as far as odessa? because odessa is still a part of the black sea and the black sea is important because bulgaria and romania bordering to the black sea and they're both nato members. so so access to the black sea is very very important. strategical in fact, stephanie as this latest offensive began a senior russian military commander said that the goal of the offensive would be to create, among other things a land bridge to crimea. if all of this is the case, this outright destruction as an aim in itself, a permanent occupation, a land bridge to crimea? is this something that the west could let stand? um, that's a very, very difficult, difficult and tricky political question because we see, i mean that
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on the camp of nato members in the ukraine there there is no consensual view yet. i mean, what is actually the political end state that we should achieve? i mean, what is it really that we would like ukraine to be after the war? are we talking about ukraine within the pri 2014 territorial boundaries? are we talking about ukraine whose territorial independence, territorial integrity and state sovereignty should remain within the boundaries of post 2014. so, i would be very, very reluctant to make any type of prognosis here because this really depends on a number of factors including events obviously on the battlefield and also events in here because this really depends on a number of factors the weeks and perhaps months to come carolina. let me get your response on the same point. what, what can
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the west, uh, perhaps contemplate as part of a longer term solution of some kind? and where would you say this is a clear red line for the west and it must absolutely do everything to defeat russian names. so first, i would like to, to echo stephanie's answer and say that we we don't know the end goal for ukraine and neither do we know the end goal for russia. we actually don't know where, how in what shape russia comes out of this of this war. what do we want? certain people already speak about forgiveness and about reconciliation with russians after after this war. but it is very difficult to speak about reconciliation when the evil is is currently done. as far as i can tell, nobody in your home country, poland is speaking about reconciliation obviously but my country is a part of the eastern europe european region, which is historically very much experienced by the
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russian imperialism. so you can say that our experience of russian imperialism coming back and attacking our region is 2-300 years. that's why we have so many existential fears that are influencing our politics also, to be honest, that's why we are also very prone to speak from the high moral ground, saying that we knew it all over from the beginning how the russia would behave. and we always we also very often say that we know better what to do with russia. i want to come back in a moment to the imperialistic aims. but one question if i may follow up question in regard to what russia might do next. and that is in in connection with may nine. there's a lot of speculation about a possible general mobilization mobilization of russian troops. perhaps even a declaration of war against ukraine because we haven't had that formal
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declaration yet. why is this victory day as it's known the day on which russians commemorate the defeat of the nazis. so important for russia. it's very important because it symbolizes something, it symbolizes a very important day of defeating nazism. so this is this is extremely important this way but i do believe what we can expect on the 9th of may. we have no idea what putin will say of course. but he will probably try to speak to his own people to the people who are still loyal to him, not necessarily to us, not necessarily to the ukrainians but the people who still support him, martin what would that mean? uh in terms of the necessary western response, if in fact there were to be a general mobilization or an official declaration of war from russia's side. are those simply symbolic gestures? or would the west need to react to that in some form? i'm very skeptical if put in really declares a general mobilization or
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declares the war against against ukraine, it could not be against the west just because then he would admit that what he said in the beginning, we're not having a war. we have not an invasion. it's just a special operation we are having in ukraine was wrong. he would admit that he was wrong. i've never heard putin saying that. so may nine is a very delicate date for the for russia because of its very, very special history you remember stalin was the leader with the red army and the great patriotic war against nazi germany defeating nazi germany. this is the huge fix fixing point in russian history. stalin on the other hand, is responsible for the gulag for for oppressing russian people for the holiday model that the the hunger company in the ukraine. so coming to terms with this really difficult past is something that
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is very difficult. but what you are suggesting to me is that that is a day on which putin would want to look strong if if i can ask you stephanie. we've also heard speculation about the possible use of tactical nuclear weapon, a battlefield nuclear weapon by russia as it's called. is that something that you do consider within the realm of possibility. and again, the question how should the west react to that? well, ever since president putin has started to make these quote unquote nuclear threats public and i think it was on day two of the campaign already, i started to take it obviously extremely serious because he left a model's operandi i mean that was established during the cold war between nuclear powers. and that is i mean that you i'm sorry that you um that you are extremely reluctant and extremely cautious with your
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strategic messaging when it comes to nuclear threats. in other words, you don't do that unless i mean you really really would like to leave basically at the the agreed gameplay and this is what president putin has done. so really would like to leave basically at the the agreed i am very much reassured by the fact that president biden said that he already some weeks ago established a so called tiger team in washington that looks at concrete contingency planning in cases of potential use of wmd weapons of mass destruction, um activities or rather yes threats um imposed by by russia. and i think that's good. i mean that this is being done, it's being undertaken. but i'm a bit skeptical whether to make this a public let's say the reason of speculation or subject of speculation because this is exactly what plays into putin's hand if
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we sit here around and we show that we are concerned and that we even are really scared. i mean that's already part of his strategic messaging. so in other words, i mean we should be, i think we should refrain a bit from these speculations. we simply say we are prepared. let's take a look at what some uh particular western countries are now doing. starting with the united states. multi president biden has now called for $33 million dollars in further support for ukraine as a former washington correspondent. what do you think biden is striving to do here? many analysts say this war is actually as much about russia versus the u. s. as it is about russia versus ukraine. would you agree? and would you expect that the latest us move would be escalatory? i would say um the americans are well advised not to take this as a war between biden and putin. this is
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something that putin wants, he wants to sit side by side with the joe biden. we are the most powerful leaders in the world. maybe she's jumping from from china is joining us. but but but my partner in dealing with the conflict is not the ukraine. it would be joe biden, i would say no, not this and not bringing the nato and game. it's not a war between nato and russia. it's a war between freedom loving countries so called the west and russia and occupying ukraine and invasion of the country and so on. this message should be a unified message from all countries that are opposing uh putin's war in the ukraine and not personalizing this in terms of the president of the united states, the president of russia and not um giving the impression that we have a military bloc called nato against russia in these instances that concern carolina is one of the reasons
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that the germans have been extremely ambivalent about providing anything that could be considered to be heavy weaponry. poland repeatedly pushed for berlin to go further. and in fact now we are seeing movement by uh for example, the bundestag which has cleared the way for delivery of antiaircraft tanks do you understand the ambivalence here in berlin? and do you see a real shift in chancellor shultz's position. so i understand that there is a vast part of the german society which is simply afraid of uh of uh um uh war starting in the heart of europe. and one can understand that the germans are actually not alone in this fear because the atom war is something which is being feared across other european countries too. but i must say that perhaps here the polish perspective is an
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interesting one because bolling we are actually afraid of nuclear plants. we know this from opinion polls. but as for the at home war, it's not that anybody is now saying that they are afraid of of of this nuclear conflict. why? perhaps because as experienced as we are by the history of russian neighborhood, we basically think if the russians go in, we if they cross the ukrainian border and go further west, for example, or further south, the destruction will be there anyway. so what is the difference this is one thing. the other thing of course is connected with the nuclear war is the question whether we this is one thing. the other thing of course is can at all provoke putin there is this wonderful historian stephen kotkin, who wrote a very interesting biography of joseph stalin, who wrote an interesting piece saying well in 1939 what nato was not there 200 years ago, nato was
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not there. so perhaps this idea that nato or any country in the west could provoke something in russia is not right. perhaps it's rather a long cultural and political habits that we are observing, coming back right into the into the heart of europe. sorry, i got my eye on the clock. so i'm going to i'm going to stop you there multi because i do want to just quickly listen to a statement by chancellor schulz responding to charges that he has become a war monger. the german chancellor told the traditional may day rally of german trade unions that radical pacifism has become obsolete, stephanie not an
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easy thing for a social democratic chancellor to say. you could hear the cat calls there in the background the entire time. what do you think? will the german government now follow through and act on those words? are we seeing a real qualitative shift in germany's willingness to play a more proactive role in general when it comes to european security. i hope so. um but i'm cautiously optimistic let's put it like this. i think on the other one, the one hand one has to a bear in mind that indeed it wasn't easy for a coalition government that started with a completely different political agenda to make a u. turn and then turn into a crisis management
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mode dealing with uh the fallout of a of a really full scalmilitary conflict in the midst of europe and if you look at how social democrats within the party, but also the green party has started to shift has started to become really refocused. i personally think they've done a pretty good job. um if you look at individual actors. if you look at uh the chance for himself, i personally think um crisis communication looks a little bit different. i would have personally appreciated if he had come more uh i mean, if he had become more focused and more targeted in in his strategic messaging at the end of the day, i think what matters for the government is to convey to the german public that they have a plan. yeah, that they, that we do have a plan. are they succeeding in that malta? i don't think so. i even don't think that german plans will solve the problem. um it is, is it much
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the problem in the war is is a much bigger problem uh than the one that germany alone can deal with. i mean, we need the cooperation, the unified cooperation of of of of of the block that we are called the west, a value orientated group of nations that simply cannot, cannot abide by the rules of war and by by not obeying to to to to international law simply cannot, cannot abide by the rules of war and rights and and that that should be our message. we simply cannot, cannot abide by the rules of war and should be and coordinate with our partners in europe in the united states. what the plan is, it's simple german plan is not, i mean, clearly, so let's talk a little bit about the nato plan. and again, we have very little time, but i do want to talk about the possible application for membership to nato by finland and sweden, their prime ministers have just been here in germany
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visiting with the german cabinet. germany said it will support any application from the two if that goes forward, nato's eastern expansion has been one of the things that has made putin see red for at least 15 years now carolina, this the right moment for a further expansion of the alliance? again, the question whether we can provoke putin and whether the west hand can really provoke putin i think this is ironic. putin wanted something else. he wanted to stop the east, the east expansion of nato he provoked something completely different. perhaps this, he he's decided he's who is provoking actually in this situation. this is this is one thing. the second thing, of course, is that once those two countries are in nato and i do believe that will, they will be members of nato soon. the questions will arise in the more eastern part of the continent. why not moldavian? well, the moldova why not ukraine. so, i think this is not the end
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of our very difficult discussions. in theory, any promises made not ukraine. so, i think this is not the end to vladimir putin in the past would now be essentially void. given the fact that circumstances have changed legal doctrine says as much on the other hand, that's legalistic stephanie the reality as we say, is that we don't know how putin will respond should nato take in these new members? absolutely. i'm a big advocate of not leaving sweden and finland any longer in a strategic gray zone because this is where there are in. i mean, there are very, very close partners of nato for a number of years already, there are members of the european union, but they remain vulnerable without article five. uh, and it's uh at the end of the day nuclear protection given by nato. so yes, it's a, it's a good news. uh
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and i think looking at sweden and finland countries, they are vibrant democracies. they have first class armed forces. they know that we're talking about and i think we can learn from them in some ways as well. so let me come back to our title and i'm going to i'm going to ask each of you, this is tough but to please give me a yes or no answer is the west already a party to the conflict or will it succeed in walking the thin line between support and intervention malta, legally it's not apart psychologically, it could be regarded realistically. we are already in the war on western values. we stand with ukraine. does this answer your question? i would say you have all very elegantly avoided a yes or no answer. many thanks to you for
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