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Ukraine: Putin says Germany made 'mistake' to side with NATO

October 14, 2022

The Russian leader also chided Germany for canceling the Nord Stream 2 gas project following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, about which he said he had "no" regrets.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Astana
Putin's comments on Friday focused on Germany were thinly veiled admonishments of disapprovalImage: Ramil Sitdikov/AP/picture alliance

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference in the Kazakh capital of Astana Friday that Germany had made a "mistake" in siding with NATO in the war in Ukraine.

He claimed that the decision to cancel the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was a German one and that it was an error to prioritize NATO and European security over what Moscow believes to be Germany's national interest.

"German citizens, businesses and its economy are paying for this mistake, because it has negative economic consequences for the eurozone as a whole and in Germany," he said, in reference to Nord Stream 2.

By contrast, Putin believes Russia "is doing everything right" in its stalled effort to conquer Ukraine, which has led Russia to be accused of frequent rights abuses, war crimes and violations of international law.

Putin said he believes that the work of partially mobilizing personnel was "coming to an end," and that all processes related to it would end in two weeks.

US-based security expert Dmitri Mikhailovich told DW that while that could be true, the danger was in the lack of training of recruits sent to war.

Sending recruits with either no training or little training is "dangerous recipe" and unlikely to land a successful outcome for Putin, Mikhailovich said.

"When he announced mobilization, the war came home to the Russian people," he said. "I don't think there is danger of any popular uprisings anytime soon, but he's starting to lose enthusiasm for this war, as people are starting to sacrifice personally for it."

What else did Putin say about NATO?

Any direct confrontation between NATO forces and Russian troops would be a "global catastrophe," he said.

Putin relayed that he had no regrets about his decision to invade Ukraine despite the hugely unpopular mobilization and Russia's minimal battlefield gains in the months since the war began.

He added he would want the humanitarian corridors for Ukrainian grain closed should it emerge they are being used for what he termed "acts of terror." Turkey, a NATO member state, and the UN brokered a deal to bring Ukrainian grain to world markets in July.

Earlier this month, the Kerch Bridge connecting Russia to Crimea, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2014, was targeted by a truck bomb Russia has since blamed on Ukraine.

While Kyiv residents and government officials celebrated the act of sabotage and the Ukrainian postal service ordered up commemorative stamps, Ukraine did not formally claim its forces were behind the attack. Russia has blamed Ukraine's military intelligence.

What else did Putin say about Ukraine?

At the news conference following the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Putin claimed that the partial mobilization he ordered would be over in two weeks.

He added that there are no future plans at present for further call-ups. Sixteen thousand reservists are currently engaged in military activities, he noted.

"Nothing additional is planned. No proposals have been received from the defense ministry and I don't see any additional need in the foreseeable future," he said.

Though Putin once said the invasion and capture of Ukraine would be over swiftly, he ordered 300,000 reservists be called up to fight in Ukraine last month. Nearly as many men of military age left the country then to avoid mobilizing.

And he said there was no need for massive strikes on Ukraine "for now," following a week of missile barrages on Ukrainian towns and cities.

"Our aim is not to destroy Ukraine," Putin said.

What does Putin say about other countries' perceptions of Russia's war on Ukraine?

Putin noted that China and India favor a "peaceful dialogue" over Ukraine after their leaders clashed with him at a different summit in Uzbekistan last month.

While some countries once occupied by the Soviet Union are "worried," Putin said he believes there has been no change in "the character and depth of the Russian Federation's relations with these countries."

The Collective Security Treaty Organization consists of Russia and five other countries that were once considered part of the Soviet Union: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

As with the Warsaw Pact that once existed in satellite countries under Russian tutelage during the Cold War, members of the organization have only seen Russian forces be used to suppress civil disturbances in their countries.

The Russian leader also said he finds "no need" for future talks with US President Joe Biden, who earlier in the week dismissed the idea of dialogue with Putin.

Putin said he has not made a decision yet whether to attend the G20 summit in Bali next month, which would be his first encounter with leaders who stand vehemently opposed to his war against Ukraine.

ar/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)