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NATO is not as united as claimed

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Many praise Europe’s unity after Russia’s attack on Ukraine. And it is also true: Vladimir Putin was surprised by the breadth of solidarity and the severity of the sanctions.

But when US President Joe Biden’s call for Russia to be excluded from the G20 becomes the biggest news of NATO and EU summits, it is profound. First of all, it won’t be that easy. G-20 members like India have so far refused to condemn Russia.

Second, how the West should proceed in the next phase of the war in Ukraine was actually high on the Brussels agenda. There was no breaking news there.

The EU and NATO are not as close as claimed. As with other issues – defense preparedness, rule of law, protection of external borders, distribution of refugees – Eastern members react differently to Western ones. At the NATO-EU summit, the Balts, Poles and other Central Europeans, who know Russian imperialism from their own experience, demand tougher sanctions against Moscow and more military aid for kyiv than the Germans, French or Italians.

The resistance saved the Baltic states from Putin’s march through

Once again, it is evident that the nations to the east of Germany are socialized differently. They bring other experiences and visions of history to the common Europe. Now they are more confident. Because his warnings about Vladimir Putin, which Western Europeans did not take seriously for a long time, have come true.

More about the Ukrainian war on Tagesspiegel Plus:

Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Poles not only admire the Ukrainians for their surprisingly successful resistance. You are grateful to them. In his view, this spirit of resistance has saved NATO from great danger.

If Putin’s plan to conquer the Ukraine in a blitzkrieg and topple the Zelensky government in kyiv had worked, he might have let the tanks advance immediately. Putin claims all the former Soviet republics. This includes the Baltic States, even if they are in NATO today.

The alliance had only a token presence there, so as not to provoke Moscow, as proponents of an understanding with Russia have long argued. The defense was not possible.

Germany and NATO are now also being defended in Ukraine

The Ukrainians stopped Putin’s advance with their will to fight and gave NATO the time it needed to move more troops to the eastern flank. To paraphrase a maxim of former Defense Minister Peter Struck about the mission in the Hindu Kush: Germany and NATO are now also being defended in Ukraine. Not by NATO soldiers, but by the Ukrainians.

[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen.]

Ukraine defending Europe? For many Germans and French, the idea sounds strange. For its neighbors to the east, it is very real. This is also the reason for the disagreement at the Brussels summit marathon over how much aid the West owes to Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden has these different emotional states in mind as he travels to Poland on Friday. The war is a direct neighbor there. The clearer the military defeat that the Ukrainians are inflicting on Putin with Western military aid, the safer Poles and Balts will feel in the future.

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