Germany hopes to return to pre-war ‘peace order’ with Russia

Russian pundit accuses Olaf Scholz of imitating Hitler

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Germany hopes to return to the pre-conflict “peace order” with Russia following the conclusion of the war in Ukraine. Berlin said this would depend on Vladimir Putin renouncing aggression against his country’s neighbours.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz yesterday told a panel discussion at the Berlin Security Conference there was a “willingness” in Germany to engage with the Kremlin on questions such as missile deployment, so long as Russia stops invasions such as its ongoing “special military operation” in Ukraine.

He lamented that the recent “strong partnership” that had been enjoyed by Germany and Russia had been squandered because of the conflict.

But in a message that appears to clash with those coming out of the White House, Mr Scholz said Western countries “have” to “go back” to peace-securing agreements with the Kremlin when possible.

Asked how Germany will act towards Russia once the war is over, the Chancellor, quoted in the Times, said: “At this stage I would say it’s not about partnership, to be very honest. Russia spoilt the peace order we worked on for so many decades and we agreed there should never again be the attempt to change borders by force.

“And what Russia is doing today is going back to the imperialistic approach of the 19th, 18th, 17th century where just a stronger country thinks it could just take the territory of the neighbour, understanding neighbours as just hinterland, and some place they can give rules to be followed.”

This, Mr Scholz said, “can never be accepted”.

But he continued: “We have to go back to the agreements which we had in the last decades and which were the basis for peace and security order in Europe.

“And for Russia this also means that it accepts that there are open-minded societies, open societies, democracies, that follow completely a different way of how they are governed and how they attract people…

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“In the end there is no aggression coming from the member states of the European Union, there is no aggression coming from NATO, and all questions of common security could be solved and discussed. There is a willingness to do so.”

The German Chancellor received a round of applause, at which moment he conduced: “We can come back to a peace order that worked and make it safe again if there is a willingness in Russia to go back to this peace order.”

Responding to these claims, Andrew Michta, Dean of the College of International and Security Studies at the George C Marshall Center, described any negotiations as a “win” for Putin.

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He wrote in a post on Twitter: “This is exactly the wrong message to send. It’s too early to contemplate ‘peace deals’.

“Any negotiations with Russia about Ukraine at this stage in the war would be Putin’s win.”

Other NATO officials, meanwhile, are pushing for measures that have been describe as escalatory.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics this week said “we should allow Ukrainians to use weapons to target missile sites or air fields from where those operations are being launched”.

Michael McCaul, who is set to take over as chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Bloomberg that this “would trigger a massive response from Russia and that truly would escalate the situation”.

The Russian Embassy in Riga also asked: “What is this, if not incitement to unleash a large-scale war?!”

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