Kiesewetter on rubles, gas, war: “Putin can’t hold his stomach for anticipation”

After four weeks of war in Ukraine, the situation seems deadlocked. Russia is taking more and more brutal action against the civilian population, but is hardly gaining any ground. In an interview with, the CDU MP, foreign politician and former army colonel Roderich Kiesewetter warns of the use of nuclear weapons and calls for even more decisive sanctions. The war in Ukraine has now lasted four weeks. If you look there now, how do you assess the current situation?

Roderich Kiesewetter: So far, Russia has not achieved its war goals in this form; on the contrary, it has shown blatant weaknesses. And on the other hand, most of the European states underestimated the defense readiness and the resourcefulness of the Ukrainians’ combat conduct. And the third aspect is that with a view to the EU, NATO and the G7, Europe has moved closer together than ever and transatlantic cooperation has also become much more relevant.

Did that surprise you?

Former Bundeswehr Colonel Roderich Kiesewetter has represented the CDU in the Bundestag since 2009. Among other things, he is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

(Photo: Photo: Tobias Koch (

Not the latter. I was positively surprised by Ukraine’s will to defend itself. And I was surprised how disastrous the Russian warfare is. On the one hand, that Russia is harassing the population with breaches of international law, that it is a terrible war of annihilation that is being waged against the Ukrainian population. And on the other hand, that they are not able to do justice to the aura that precedes them. How weak the Russian army really is. And that’s why they resort to such terrible means.

Can Ukraine win the war? And when would one be able to speak of a Ukrainian victory?

The question is: What does “winning the war” mean in this scenario, if Ukraine should achieve military superiority and Russia withdraws, what would be Ukraine’s war aims? First, that Russia completely withdraws from Ukraine. Second, that the population can return as soon as possible. And thirdly, that Russia pays reparations, that it finances the reconstruction. And fourth, that Ukraine maintains sovereignty, statehood and non-alignment, not neutrality or other compromises it did not fight for.

That would be the maximum success.

Whether these points are achievable, I do not know. But it would be the only acceptable way for Ukraine. That Ukraine will emerge victorious from this war and that Putin will abdicate and Russia will receive fewer sanctions, that is, that a post-Putin Russia will return to the international community as quickly as possible if it meets certain requirements.

You were against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline early on and were therefore in the minority in the Union. Do you feel satisfied and do your party friends now agree with you more clearly?

I don’t feel any satisfaction. Rather, I feel that many who are very close to business or who argue from the point of view of German business still do not have the sensitivity to what is happening to the Ukrainian population. I see that many do not want to understand, do not want to hear, that Putin deliberately deceived the West and Germany and made them dependent. I am disappointed that many have not heard the shot in the truest sense of the word and do not think economically and geostrategically, but only with a view of the old thinking “change through trade”. Rather, this thesis has transformed us, from defenders of liberty to defenders of, shall I say, well-formed atrocities.

That means they are for an immediate ban on imports of Russian oil and gas?

I’m in favor of putting that on hold for five to six months now. A longer period of time is actually going to be difficult at the moment. The time must then be used intensively to create alternatives. Putin’s Russia receives between 600 and 700 million euros a day for energy supplies from the European Union, around 400 million of which come from Germany. If we don’t change that, we won’t change his calculations either. China is watching the whole thing very closely and sees how we deal with it. And if we are not willing to pay a price here, China will ruthlessly absorb Taiwan, because they know there will be no sanctions and we are not prepared to accept our own losses.

What does it mean if we have to pay for gas in rubles?

That means the sanctioned Central Bank of Russia is back in the game. This means that we then leverage our own sanctions ourselves. And Putin can’t hold his stomach with anticipation. Then he shows us that our own sanctions are ineffective. It should now be clear to the last person that we are to be presented here.

How seriously do you take Putin’s nuclear threat?

If Putin sees that he will not be successful militarily, then there is a danger within the framework of the Russian military doctrine that tactical nuclear weapons can also be used in conventional war, or at least that appropriate blackmail can take place. NATO has said very clearly that it will not intervene as long as the war is on Ukrainian territory. That should be a clear indication for Putin that she will not intervene if he uses weapons of mass destruction on Ukrainian soil or causes chemical accidents or or or. Nuclear deterrence works here, so to speak.

NATO has clearly said it does not want to become a party to the war. Can you think of a scenario where that changes?

Only if there is an attack on NATO countries.

So not even if nuclear weapons are used?

If that’s within Ukraine and limited, probably not. There is another very difficult scenario that is given little thought. This is an attack on Moldova. Romania sees itself as the protecting power of Moldova and around half of the 2.9 million inhabitants have a Romanian passport. And if Romania says an attack on Moldova is an attack on Romania, then we have the NATO defense case. Russia wants to involve NATO in the war.

Russia want include NATO?

Yes, of couse. Russia wants to escalate. Russia wants to provoke us to the point of NATO action, because they believe that they are able to win such an exchange due to their military-technical superiority, supersonic weapons and the way they have already positioned themselves. You similarly underestimate us, but perhaps rightly so this time, as you underestimated the Ukrainian population. They believe that the streets in the West will then be full of demonstrations against a war. And of course they will activate their fifth column, the Russian minorities in the Baltics, the Russian-Germans, if they can be reached via Russia Today and Sputnik. We are still threatened with escalations that we should really keep an eye on.

Volker Petersen spoke to Roderich Kiesewetter

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