Zo meldt Reuters:
Ahead of a summit of G20 leaders in Australia, Merkel resolved to confront Vladimir Putin alone, without the usual pack of interpreters and aides.
Instead of challenging him on what she saw as a string of broken promises, she would ask the Russian president to spell out exactly what he wanted in Ukraine and other former Soviet satellites the Kremlin had started bombarding with propaganda.
On Nov. 15 at 10 p.m., a world away from the escalating violence in eastern Ukraine, the two met on the eighth floor of the Brisbane Hilton. The meeting did not go as hoped.
For nearly four hours, Merkel — joined around midnight by new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker — tried to get the former KGB agent, a fluent German speaker, to let down his guard and clearly state his intentions.
But all the chancellor got from Putin, officials briefed on the conversation told Reuters, were the same denials and dodges she had been hearing for months.
“He radiated coldness,” one official said of the encounter. “Putin has dug himself in and he can’t get out.”
Now, German officials say, they have run out of ideas about how they might sway the Russian leader. The channels of communication with Putin will remain open, but Berlin is girding for a long standoff, akin to a second Cold War.
“I think we need to prepare ourselves for a prolonged conflict in which Russia will use all the means at its disposal,” Norbert Roettgen, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the German Bundestag and a member of Merkel’s conservative party, told Reuters.
“We are essentially in a waiting game,” said another German official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. “All we can do is keep an eye on the violence in eastern Ukraine and be prepared to react to it.”
Met andere woorden, Poetin weigert simpelweg te onderhandelen of te bewegen richting een politieke oplossing.
Tegelijkertijd kosten de westerse sancties de Russen – naar eigen zeggen – 32 miljard euro per jaar. Ook is Poetin van plan de Russische economie overeind te houden door een plan tegen corruptie te lanceren dat tientallen miljarden moet opleveren.
Van zo’n plan weet je natuurlijk al bij voorbaat dat het kansloos is.
Maar Poetin is vooralsnog bereid alle economische schade voor lief te nemen. Het lijkt er dus op dat een Koude Oorlog 2.0 onvermijdelijk is.
Tenslotte nog een aardig detail:
German media have been complaining for months about their news sites being bombarded with pro-Russian comments. German security sources say they are part of an organized offensive steered from the Kremlin.