News / Europe

Germany Warns Russia of 'Massive Damage' Over Crimea

Germany Warns of 'Massive Damage' to Russia Over Crimea Crisisi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Henry Ridgwell
March 14, 2014 9:19 PM
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Moscow that Europe could inflict 'massive economic,' political damage' to Russia if situation escalates in Ukrainian region of Crimea. Crimeans vote Sunday in a referendum on leaving Ukraine. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Germany Warns of 'Massive Damage' to Russia Over Crimea Crisis

Henry Ridgwell
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Moscow that Europe could inflict 'massive economic and political damage' to Russia if the situation in the Ukrainian region of Crimea escalates.

Germany now appears willing to use its diplomatic and economic muscle to turn up the heat on Moscow, analysts say. And they add that Merkel, a fluent Russian speaker, has been Europe's prime interlocutor with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Addressing lawmakers in Germany's parliament this week, Merkel issued the strongest threat yet to Moscow.

"If Russia continues on its course of the past weeks, it will not only be a catastrophe for Ukraine,” she said Thursday. “We would see it, as neighbors of Russia, as a threat. And it would not only change the European Union's relationship with Russia. No, this would also cause massive damage to Russia, economically and politically."

Merkel ruled out any military action. She dismissed Russia's claims that Crimea's bid to break away from Ukraine could be compared to Kosovo's independence from Serbia. Crimeans are set for a referendum on Sunday to decide to possibly join Russia.

"One thing has to be completely clear: The territorial integrity of Ukraine cannot be put in question," Merkel said.

Merkel's hardline stance marks a departure from her previously cautious approach to Russia, said Professor Alan Riley, an expert on EU-Russia relations at City University in London.

"What we're seeing is a grave Western concern that President Putin may be willing to go a lot further,” she said. “Would we have some form of Afghanistan-style guerilla war in Europe, in the middle of the continent?"

At stake for Berlin are deep economic and trade links with Moscow. Russia says it would retaliate to any sanctions. Germany gets 40 percent of its gas from Russia. But Europe could quickly reduce that dependence and deprive Moscow of revenue, Riley said.

"Two-thirds of (Russian gas firm) Gazprom's revenue comes from the one-third of gas it produces that it sells into the European Union,” he said. “That's about 10 percent of federal tax revenue. If you cut off the lifelines of those large state companies or state-influenced companies from the Western capital markets, that would have an impact."

Putin will be gambling that the threats from Chancellor Merkel are just rhetoric, said risk analyst Elizabeth Stephens of insurance brokers Jardine Lloyd Thompson in London.

"If we go back to 2008 when Russia was involved with the war in Georgia, the West issued strong condemnation,” she said. “The following year the Americans announced a reset in relations with Russia, everything was supposed to move forward on a positive footing. So I think Putin can rest assured any sanctions that will be imposed will be very weak."

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: George
March 16, 2014 2:18 AM
Yes it would be interesting to hear the stance on Syria where so many people have lost their lives, bearing in mind Russian support of the Syrian government has been very strong. Germany needs to be more forthright on condemnation of what has happened there and continues to happen on a daily basis.


by: Sweetbird from: United States
March 15, 2014 2:34 AM
Shame on Angela Merkel and Germany for listening to her. She's a traitor for going against Russia and putting all German businesses at risk losing Billions of $ she has no clues what she's doing. The German senate should go against her. Germany after WWII was punish by the west and now Germany wants to punish Russia. Merkel has no rights at all.


by: Robert from: Prague
March 15, 2014 12:55 AM
Putin is out of control. Tomorrow he can head his tanks to EU borders. Don't buy Russian gas!


by: Anonymous
March 14, 2014 3:53 PM
Putin needs an economic slap on all levels. He knew what he was doing when he sent thousands of troops and gunship helicopters to a place he had no business going and drawing a line in the sand of sand that does not belong to him.

All these threats to Russia are nothing, action must be taken to send Putin a stern warning that the world will not tolerate his irresponsible actions, and he best not try them in the future either.

This will send a strong message to the Russian people to get Putin the hell out of office. The Russian people should be fully aware of the path that "Putin" is taking Russia, somewhere Russian people DO NOT want to go...

He should be ousted by Russian people for his provocative acts, and besides that he should be investigated for his part in the Syrian Crisis, Chechnya, and Moscow Siege.

I think any International court would find him guilty. His crazy acts will get him nowhere but in to trouble.


by: Mike Simms from: Toronto
March 14, 2014 3:08 PM
How can you simply "dismiss" claims that Crimea breaking off from Ukraine is any different than Kosovo from Serbia? Isn't International Law supposed to be followed by everyone? Do the Western supporters simply get to pick and choose which laws will be followed and which countries can have territorial integrity? The last time I checked, Serbia was sovereign UN nation that wanted it's territorial integrity respected as well. Now there's a huge US army base in Kosovo. Based on that alone, I say good for Putin!

In Response

by: Gerald Lane Summers from: California
March 18, 2014 1:06 PM
The Kosovo War started in 1996 and ended with the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia; NATO had intervened to prevent widespread human rights abuses by Serb forces. Slobodan Milošević was overthrown in 2000. The U.S. did not invade these countries; NATO acted to stop the genocide with US support.

In Response

by: olga from: russia
March 14, 2014 8:17 PM
cant agree more! also good for Putin

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid