Germany in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict: a political or a humanitarian mission?

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Series Details No.163 (18.02.15)
Publication Date 18/02/2015
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Since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in 2013, profound changes in Germany’s thinking about Russia, its political elite and foreign policy, can be observed. The trust most German politicians had in their former strategic partner has now lessened. At the same time, Germany has been particularly involved in the process of resolving the conflict, which was demonstrated by the intensive diplomatic actions it undertook. When these failed, Chancellor Angela Merkel did not hesitate to force through the introduction and maintenance of economic sanctions.

At the same time, however, this evolution in Germany’s thinking about Russia has not translated into any change in the two basic assumptions of the German attitude towards a possible solution to the conflict.

The Minsk agreements of 12 February 2015 can be considered a success worthy of a humanitarian mission carried out in the hope of reducing the number of casualties. However, the political mission undertaken by Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier aimed at 'ensuring Europe’s security order' has so far resulted in the sense of helplessness and frustration which have recently dominated Germany’s policy towards Russia.

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ESO: Background information: Note from Berlin: Crisis diplomacy and the Russian-Ukrainian war

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