Angela Merkel’s former foreign policy adviser and designated head of the Munich Security Conference, Christoph Heusgen, has called for international unity in reponse to the threat of Russia invading Ukraine in an interview with DW.
“What is very important now is that, as we see this danger, we know what happened in the past, that we react as the international community, very strong, very clear, that we send the right signals right now”, said Heusgen, who was also Germany’s Ambassador to the United Nations. He said that potential consequences to Russia’s actions should be made clear: “What we want this time is to have this very strong, massive reaction put into the window, so to speak, so that Russia knows exactly what happens if they actually take the step that Putin indicated they’re ready to take.”
Asked about his interpretation of Russia’s goals, Heusgen said he believes Russian president Vladimir Putin was afraid that the recent discontent of people in other post-Soviet countries such as Belarus or Kazakhstan could spill over into Russia, and that Putin was trying to “keep his people happy” with a “very nationalistic course”: "He’s trying to reestablish, you know, a kind of ‘Soviet Union Russia style’". In response, the international community needed to “stay tough and tell him that this is where the buck stops.”
Heusgen said he welcomed the coordination between Western and NATO partners. The Ukraine crisis showed how important the transatlantic partnership was, “when it comes to core security issues”. Germany had “every interest to continue to strengthen this.” Heusgen emphasized Germany had an important role to play in the crisis.
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