BERLIN | | russische-foederation

BERLIN (Own report) - Nebulous warnings from anonymous intelligence officials are sustaining Brussels and Berlin's campaign against alleged Russian interference in the European election campaign. German flagship media are quoting intelligence officials saying that "efforts" are being made "to support Russia-friendly or EU-critical parties." Presenting no evidence, they claim instead that, in this case, Russian activities are "less visible" than in other cases. The EU has increased its staff and means for its "EU East Stratcom Taskforce," claiming to reveal "pro-Kremlin" propaganda, while openly making propaganda for the European Union. With an annual budget of five million euros, the Taskforce is propagating fake news. To such allegations about Russia's "hybrid war, " advanced, for example, by a US specialist on Russia in an article on the so-called "Gerasimov doctrine," German military officials respond "they are not doing anything different from us." Playing on anti-Russian sentiment, Berlin is increasingly attacking not only the foreign enemy, but also the domestic opposition - as alleged puppets of Moscow. more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON | | russische-foederationusa

BERLIN/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Own report) - German business circles are readying themselves for a new round of US sanctions against Russia and are warning against a second "Iran scenario, " because of a comprehensive package of US punitive measures, intended to affect also all Russian energy projects abroad. The new sanctions may not only prevent an LNG terminal Novatek plans to build in Rostock, but also facilitate steps against the three - of the twelve - large German refineries in which Rosneft holds shares. As in the case of Iran, from which German companies have almost completely withdrawn following the imposition of US sanctions, the fear of Washington's punitive measures is now foiling new business deals with Russia on a large scale. In addition to the package of sanctions, the Trump administration is expected to impose a second round of punitive measures for Moscow's alleged responsibility for the Salisbury nerve-agent attack. The US President is also threatening to expand its war of sanctions because of Russian support for Venezuela. more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW/BEIJING | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW/BEIJING (Own report) - The privileged German-European access to Russian natural gas could be lost, is the warning, as the battle over the "Nord Stream 2" pipeline persists. According to a recent analysis published by Oxford University, western sanctions, imposed on Russia in 2014, have encouraged Moscow to seek alternative markets for its resources. China, in particular, plans to purchase large amounts of Russian natural gas. The first pipeline is scheduled to go into operation this year. A second pipeline - tapping the fields currently supplying gas exclusively to Europe - is in planning. The same applies to new Russian liquefied gas projects. In the future, "European customers" will most likely have to compete in Russia with "Asian customers," the Oxford University analysis predicts. Instead of forcing Moscow to its knees, the sanctions could put an end to Berlin's privileged access to Russian natural gas and if the "Nord Stream 2" fails, it could further worsen the EU's position. more…

BERLIN/KIEV/ANKARA | | russische-foederationukrainetuerkei

BERLIN/KIEV/ANKARA (Own report) - The German government is offering to serve as mediator in the conflict over the Sea of Azov, while demands are being made that ports be closed to Russian ships. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on the sidelines of the G20 summit last weekend that Russian President Vladimir Putin "had approvingly received" her plea for negotiations between Russia, Ukraine Germany and France ("Normandy Format") to settle the conflict. However, Berlin's advantageous mediator role is being undermined by US measures - such as providing arms to Ukraine - and by Turkey. Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had also offered to serve as mediator between Moscow and Kiev, based on the good relations Turkey has with both Russia and Ukraine. While the Ukrainian president reiterated his call for NATO deploying warships to the Sea of Azov, Secretary-General of Germany's Christian Democratic Party, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, suggested barring Russian vessels sailing from the Crimea region from entering EU ports. more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Own report) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's meeting today with US President Donald Trump is not only overshadowed by his threat of applying punitive tariffs and the Iran conflict, but also by a dispute over economic aspects of the USA's Russia policy. On the one hand, the Trump administration is calling on Berlin to forego the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. In fact, the pipeline, which establishes Germany as the EU's central distributor for Russian natural gas, is one of the main aspects of Germany's energy policy. On the other, the newest round of sanctions that the US has levied against Russia - without consulting Berlin - threatens to cause serious damage to German companies. The dispute with Washington is escalating at a time when the Russia policy is becoming more controversial in Germany. Whereas the German government is accentuating its course - while media organs are openly campaigning for being prepared to go to war with Russia - business associations are pushing for moderation. Some formerly influential politicians are warning of the "danger of a third and final world war." more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/MOSCOW | | syrienrussische-foederation

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/MOSCOW (Own report) - The German government, after having applauded the bombing of Syria, is now demanding participation in the country's reorganization, once the war has ended. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her intentions to have a meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin "in the foreseeable future," to discuss particularly the development in Syria. The enormous costs for Syria's reconstruction, which can hardly be covered by Russia alone, are viewed as a means of leverage on Moscow. Berlin also sees itself in a position to mediate between Russia and the USA in view of Washington's threat to attack Russian positions in Syria. While the German government is going on the offensive to win influence, new foreign policy controversies are developing among the EU member states. In addition, questions are also being raised about the legitimacy of Saturday's illegal air strikes: A renowned British journalist reported that doctors in Douma have doubts that chemical weapons had been used in that city on April 7. According to the OPCW, the research institute that had been bombed on Saturday had had nothing to do with poison-gas. more…

BERLIN/LONDON/MOSCOW | | grossbritannienrussische-foederation

BERLIN/LONDON/MOSCOW (Own report) - NATO is envisaging a new arms buildup against Russia, as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced yesterday in an interview. Stoltenberg expects that the heads of states and governments of NATO's member countries will "face new decisions" at the NATO summit in July in Brussels to "improve" the "defensive capabilities" and military "preparedness" of the member nations. Officially, this was triggered by the double assassination attempt in Salisbury, Great Britain, which until now has not been solved. Police predict that the investigation may take months. A former British ambassador explains that employees of Britain's foreign office compare the pressure they are now under for this case, with the pressure in 2003, when the government claimed that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is also introducing new measures against Moscow, whereas the majority of the German population favors rapprochement with Russia. more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - The Russian petroleum company, Rosneft, is expanding its activities in Germany, thereby reducing Germany's dependence on the transatlantic oil industry. While public discussion is focused on ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's candidacy for the chair of Rosneft's board of directors, the company has increased its share to 25 percent of Germany's crude oil imports, and has become the third largest oil processing enterprise in Germany. It has plans to further strengthen its position in the country, inspired by the close German-Russian natural gas cooperation, which provides Germany significant influence over Western Europe's supply of Russian gas. Achieving predominant influence over the EU's supply and a growing independence vis-à-vis the energy giants of the transatlantic era, facilitates Berlin's pursuit of an independent German-EU global policy. more…

KABUL/BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | afghanistanrussische-foederation

KABUL/BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - In light of the new buildup of US troops in Afghanistan, experts are warning of a new proxy war between NATO and Russia at the Hindu Kush. As observers unanimously explain, Russia has been able to expand its influence in Afghanistan significantly over the past few years. Moreover, the dismal results of NATO's nearly 16 years of war have seriously damaged the West's reputation in that country. Moscow can now take advantage of this situation and enhance its prestige, according to reports. A former top US intelligence official considers that, Russian President Vladimir Putin sees Afghanistan as "one more hot spot, to exercise his influence" and depict Moscow "as the problem solver and peacemaker." If NATO and Russia ally with divergent forces at the Hindu Kush, it could develop into another proxy war, as in Syria. more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - In the prelude to Chancellor Merkel's visit to Russia, German business associations and foreign policy experts are urging that the policy of sanctions be ended. They argue that sanctions practically have become ineffective, since Russia's economy has withstood these trade restrictions and is now even recovering. The boycott has also damaged the EU's image and that of the USA in Russia and, even though intended to weaken, it has helped to stabilize the Russian government. Moreover, Russian orders, that German businesses had once expected, were increasingly going to competitors, for example in China - and are ultimately lost. However, German economists still see Russia as a lucrative market. According to an analysis by the Bertelsmann Foundation and Munich's ifo Institute, a free-trade agreement between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), congregated around Russia, would generate a growth of 45 billion euros. Government advisors recommend that the sanctions policy be gradually ended. This would not eliminate the prospect that Moscow, at any time, could be forced to its knees with an arms race. more…