In an interview on Germany’s state-run DLF radio this morning, Gen. Harald Kujat (ret.), former German chairman of the NATO military committee, said that Russia wants to protect Russian nationals in the “Near Abroad,” and if need be, even by military force. If Ukraine or Georgia became members of NATO, that would cross a red line for Moscow. Furthermore, the Black Sea Fleet base in Crimea is a crucial issue for Russia. NATO cannot and should not intervene militarily, since Ukraine is not an Alliance member, Kujat said.
NATO has to do what it has not done so far, namely, to talk with, rather than about Russia, and to accept that for the Russians there is a red line. Ukraine certainly can be associated with the EU, but it has to drop the idea it could be a member of NATO, too. Guarantees have to be given to the Russian nationals in Ukraine, as well as to the Black Sea Fleet’s port in Sevastopol. A further escalation, potentially into a war between Ukraine and Russia, would be “a catastrophe for Europe and for the world,” Kujat warned.
Der Spiegel, Germany’s biggest news magazine, and its prominent columnist Jakob Augstein, the son of its late founder, are writing acidly against the war policy in Ukraine.