Britain and Germany at Odds over Russia

Only last week the Russian press waxed lyrical over comments from the woefully naive socialist foreign minister of Germany who gushed over the prospect of cutting sanctions against Russia but ignored the need for any precondition that would require respect for Ukrainian sovereignty. This occurred at the Munich security conference.

Instead, according to Aleksandr Grishin – “Germaniya ne khochet teryat’ Rossiyu” – in Komsomsolskaya Pravda, on 17 February 2018, Sigmar Gabriel expressed the earnest wish to insert UN peacekeeping troops in the Don Basin, which is supposed to be a part of the Ukraine but has now for some time been illegally occupied by Russian mercenaries. And of course Gabriel said nothing about removing the Russian occupation of Ukrainian Crimea. This is all part and parcel of the German move to dissociate itself from Donald Trump and the American demand that Berlin actually live up to its commitment to spend 2% of its GNP on collective defence. Apparently the replacement of “our America” (Obama’s America) with Trump’s America (their America?) is not acceptable to the German foreign minister, who is still atoning for his father’s staunch commitment to his Nazi past. But I doubt if the White House is crying into its soup over that.

Well now Britain’s foreign secretary, another heavyweight, Boris Johnson has spoken out on the anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, 22 February. He argued that “Crimea-related” sanctions have to be sustained, cutting directly across Gabriel’s manifest intention to dispose of them without more ado.

Today Georgii Bovt in Komsomolskaya pravda (“Boris, ty ne prav”)  is indignant that Johnson did not mention the results of the fake referendum conducted under Russian occupation, as though anyone with any objectivity would take that seriously. What if some other state invaded and occupied a slice of Russian territory and then staged a referendum to justify it? How seriously would the Russian public take that?