The long-standing German ambassador to Russia, Rüdiger von Fritsch (68), accuses Moscow of using the global supply crisis caused by the Ukraine war and the resulting threat of refugee movements as a means of warfare. “Vladimir Putin is specifically trying to create hunger crises in the Middle East and North Africa,” says von Fritsch in the Sunday edition of the Berlin “Tagesspiegel” about the 69-year-old Russian head of state. That is why Russia is preventing Ukraine from exporting grain and even bombing grain silos.
“Putin’s calculus is that after the collapse of grain supplies, the starving people will flee from these regions and try to get to Europe – like the millions of Syrians who fled the horrors of war did then,” says von Fritsch, who put Putin in met in person several times in the past. “With new streams of refugees, he wants to destabilize Europe and build up political pressure so that Western countries give up their tough stance against Russia.”
This is “a new type of hybrid warfare,” criticizes the diplomat, who is about to publish the book “Turning Points: Putin’s War and the Consequences.”
No quick end to the war
Von Fritsch does not believe in a quick end to the war. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Putin “tipped over the chessboard” and “abruptly ended the successful attempt to create security in Europe together”.
Defeat in Ukraine is out of the question for Putin, as he is now fighting for his own power in Russia, said the ex-ambassador. Therefore, there is a high probability “that he will try to continue and escalate this war”.
According to von Fritsch, he does not believe that the Russian head of state could also use nuclear weapons: “Putin is neither crazy nor irrational. It obeys a different logic.” The statements of the Russian leadership on the deliveries of heavy weapons from Western countries to Ukraine made it clear “that they have so far very carefully avoided getting into a military confrontation with NATO”. (AFP)