Russia’s main concern isn‘t Ukraine: "Putin directs his attention particularly to China," said former Chancellor Schmidt in an interview. "The West must be more appreciative of this."
The article originally appeared at Spiegel Online. Translated for RI by Roman Kut
Hamburg – Ex Chancellor Helmut Schmidt argued for more understanding for Russia and president Wladimir Putin. Otherwise it can‘t be „completely ruled out“ that the ukrainian conflict „turns into a hot war“, told Schmidt to the German tabloid „Bild“.
Putin’s main concerns are less directed at Ukraine, Poland or Lithuania, but to the neighbours China, Pakistan and the former Soviet Republics, said Schmidt. In view of this situation Ukraine’s future is „less important“ for Putin.
In the beginning of the 90-ies, being in its „Wild-West period“ under the then president Boris Jelzin, Russia was taken by surprise by the decision of the EU regarding East-Expansion. „It avenges itself today“, said Schmidt, for Jelzin’s successor Putin has provided international acceptance for Russia. „We don’t have to like Putin’s policy. But we must understand it in terms of history and take it seriously.“