Has Germany’s Perspective on the Russia-Ukraine War Changed?

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The Russian-Ukrainian War, which started on February 24, 2022, undermined the European policy and affected the global system significantly. This war is one of the most important security threats to the global system since the end of the Cold War in 1991. Therefore the historical rivalry between Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), United States (USA) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a determinant in the course of the war. Thus the Russian-Ukrainian War created more complicated relations in the West-Russia context.

On one hand, the economic relations in the framework of interdependence between Russia and European Union (EU) are important. On the other hand, the USA demands Brussels more harsh and intense policy towards Moscow. However, interdependent relations that have been built economically also affect the EU’s approach to the situation. Therefore, the EU has imposed many sanctions to Russia, including maximum oil pricing application. However, these sanctions have deeply affected the EU economy as well as Russia.

The situation paved the way for disagreements in Western side towards the war and towards Russia in general. The aforementioned disagreements of opinion deepened after the Russia-Ukraine war, while the initial cracks started with Brexit.

In this context, the divergence is mainly between transatlantic actors such as the USA and England and Continental Europe led by France and Germany. As a matter of fact, while Washington and London advocated a tougher and more aggressive policy against Moscow; Berlin and Paris favor a more moderate policy within the scope of economic interests, energy crisis and interdependence. At this point, it can be argued that there is a pressure on Germany in the context of the Russia-Ukraine War. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that external dynamics may play a decisive role in the aforementioned situation. Because the pressure of anti-Russian Eastern European countries such as Poland to Berlin may trigger a crisis process, just as seen in the case of Leopard tanks.

For example, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz faced increasing pressure to supply Ukraine with cruise missiles. As a matter of fact, it is known that Scholz behaved more cautiously than his coalition partners at the point of opposition to Russia. However, two members of parliament from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), chaired by Scholz, supported those calling for the Swedish-German-made missiles to be sent to Kiev.

Andreas Schwarz, a member of the SPD Member of Parliament, stated that Ukraine was inadequate against Russia due to insufficient air power. Nils Schmid, the SPD’s Foreign Policy Spokesman in parliament, said it was crucial that the command authority over these weapons be left to the Ukrainian troops rather than the Germans, otherwise Berlin would be “dangerously close to participating directly in the war.”

As a result, there is a disagreements in Europe in the context of the Russia-Ukraine War. This puts a significant pressure on Germany to take a tougher stance towards Moscow. Because, it is not certain how this pressure will turn out and how hard Berlin can struggle with Russia or how long it can continue its support for Kiev. Because at the point of the energy crisis, Europe still has not found a clear alternative to Russia. This may mean that the summer of 2024 will be quite difficult for Europe if the war in question continues and even gets tougher.

Zeki Talustan GÜLTEN
Zeki Talustan Gülten, 2021 yılında Yalova Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden “Amerikan Dış Politikası” başlıklı bitirme teziyle ve 2023 yılında da Anadolu Üniversitesi Açık Öğretim Fakültesi Dış Ticaret bölümünden mezun olmuştur. Halihazırda Marmara Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda Tezli Yüksek Lisans öğrenimine devam eden Gülten, lisans eğitimi esnasında Erasmus+ programı çerçevesinde Lodz Üniversitesi Uluslararası ve Politik Çalışmalar Fakültesi’nde bir dönem boyunca öğrenci olarak bulunmuştur. ANKASAM’da Asya-Pasifik Araştırma Asistanı olarak çalışan Gülten’in başlıca ilgi alanları; Amerikan Dış Politikası, Asya-Pasifik ve Uluslararası Hukuk’tur. Gülten, iyi derecede İngilizce bilmektedir.