Foreign media digest 19-21 of July 2014

Britain’s reaction is the most critical among the “old Europe”

The deaths of people of MH17 flight, which was shot down over Ukraine, mark the death of British “soft power”, Daily Telegraph thinks. Britain and its American allies had attempted to reorder the world – most notably in Afghanistan and Iraq – and we had failed. So, in London, a new doctrine emerged. It was not about intervening, but cajoling. A form of internationalist “nudge”.
Daily Telegraph:
However, the author thinks such policy didn’t bring any results. “Yet soft power is simply a euphemism for no power. Or rather, it’s a euphemism for our unwillingness to use the power that we have.” The world is currently on fire. And Britain’s default response is to sit back and watch it burn,” he continues. It’s not just embraced in government, but among the British public at large. “Why should we be involved?” is our new motto. In 2014, the idea of the British Foreign Secretary actually influencing foreign affairs has become laughable, the newspaper writes.

Germany: government admits Russia’s responsibility for stirring up the conflict in eastern Ukraine, media admits Putin can’t be West’s ally.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier – Russia at least shares a responsibility for stirring up the conflict in eastern Ukraine. “For the past weeks Russian authorities did not restrain separatists from dangerous acts.”
Bild am Sonntag
Russia is doing what the West allows it to do.
Russia is waging a war against Ukraine, when the last wants to escape Moscow’s sphere of interest. While Russia is fighting for its imperious interests, Brussels and Berlin close their eyes. “Thanks God, Kremlin’s boss Putin does not deploy troops officially and just keep supplying with guns and volunteers. Thanks God, he calls for a new ceasefire, then we could withdraw from imposing sanctions. We could have suffered from them also.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko is right when saying about the signal for the whole world. Berlin, Brussels and Washington authorities have been doubting and delaying for too long.
Berliner Zeitung
It is clear Putin does not want to help to deescalate the situation in Ukraine. The last term when the West need immediately to open new phase of Ukrainian crisis is when the bodies from MH17 flight would be buried. Deep economic sanctions need to have been imposed long ago. Putin can’t be West’s ally.

Poland: Accustomed to peace and tranquility, European Union does not have neither determination, nor knowledge about the upcoming danger. The scheme that the beast could be appeased is happened again. (…) We can’t afford ourselves to wend the way of naïve and intelligent elite in their attitude towards Hitler and Stalin.
Gazeta Wyborcza

Netherlands society demand more serious reaction to the plane’s crash and the death of hundreds of Dutch.
De Telegraaf comments on Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte muted response, who does not want “ to slam his fist on the table” until they receive results of what caused the plane’s crash with 193 Dutch people on board: “We are asking ourselves, what else needs to happen until our government says: we won’t bear it!. Netherlands needs to have slammed with their fists on the table against everybody who is involved in the conflict, especially against Russia. Surely, it wouldn’t lead to criminals’ confession. But our government needs at least to show the world we are deeply outraged. What we are talking about is a terroristic act, military crime and the massacre.

French media point out there is little evidences that Russian militaries are behind crashing MH17. Libération However, who could deny the overwhelming responsibility of Russian president Vladimir Putin, the newspaper’s observer adds immediately. BY making a bet that aggressive nationalism will support his popularity, a bodybuilder from St. Petersburg is approaching his dream about Eurasian empire at the expense of European peace. Nearly 300 people have lost their lives for this Great Russian arrogance. If democracies do not react more strongly, there will be many others.”
Le Parisien:

Boeing 777

In a conversation with American NBC TV channel John Kerry said they had evidences about Russia’s and separatists’ involvement in plane’s crashing in eastern Ukraine.
In the beginning Kerry told US could confirm the authenticity of recordings (it was earlier published by Security Service of Ukraine), where separatists’ leaders were taking about a crashed plane.
They Kerry said US have got other, “more serious” evidences. “And what’s more important picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from, we know the timing and it was exactly when this aircraft disappeared from the radars,” Kerry told.
He said it is early to make final conclusions. He underlines, everything points out Russia should bear the responsibility for what have been done.
The Times: The wreckage of Flight MH17 shows damage indicating that it was struck by a missile close to a forward cargo area of the plane, experts said yesterday after studying photographs taken by The Times at the crash scene.
“The damage looks to be in keeping with what you would expect to see from a fragmentation warhead,” said a defence expert from a leading center anonymously. “The type of wreckage and any fragments could be very valuable identification mark know what was the type of the missile.” “Another expert in military aviation made the same conclusions. There was a big external blackening and the wreckage is peppered with signs of shrapnel. The outer aluminum structure was punctured and these marks correspond with the missile’s trajectory,” the edition writes.
The author underlines that following how foreign experts conduct their investigation, by trying to fix a catastrophe’s image, make interviews with bystanders, they support the theory that the plane was shot down by one or more missiles at the territory, where Ukrainian air forces were holding their operations.
Chief editor Julia Ioffe points out how Russia’s media broadcast the catastrophe with Malaysia plane. “The Russian public has a totally different understanding of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17,” she writes. “All of Russian television and state-friendly papers pushing one line: the pro-Russian separatists we’ve been supporting all these months couldn’t have done this,” the author writes. Or newspapers try “to peddle conspiracy theories.” For example, that MH17 is actually MH370, that Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared into the Indian Ocean, or it was loaded with bodies beforehand.
Floriana Fossato, a longtime scholar of Russian media, says that this, coupled with the media’s conscious use of the Soviet language of crisis—“traitors,” “fascists,” “fifth columns”—quickly brings to the surface the psychological demons of a society massively traumatized by the 20th century, traumas that society has never adequately addressed. And so they lock onto Putin for protection.
But in addition to the Russian public not clamoring for decisive action from Putin, there is a far more serious problem. As The New Yorker’s David Remnick noted in his column on the crash of MH17, Putin has become prisoner to his own propaganda machine, much as he’s become prisoner of the rebels he thought were doing his geopolitical dirty work in Ukraine.
“None of this looks very good for the West, which is clearly hoping that MH17 is the thing that will bring Putin to his senses and get him to agree to some kind of off-ramp, or, at least, a deescalation. But that’s hard to do if neither your public nor your political class see it as a game-changer or as anything that should force Russia to end this game,” the author concludes.
The latest US sanctions hit big Russian companies hard. “It is hardly surprising, then, that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev spoke of a return to the Cold War and President Vladimir Putin warned that sanctions “usually have a boomerang effect,” journalists write for Der Spiegel journal.
The United States and Europe last week announced the imposition of stronger sanctions against Russia in response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. German industry may be among the losers. German industry’s Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations believes that the crisis could endanger up to 25,000 jobs in Germany. “Were a broad recession to befall Russia, German growth could sink by 0.5 percent,” according to a Deutsche Bank study.
The German Chambers of Commerce and Industry estimate that up to a quarter of German companies that do business abroad could be affected. “And the risks are significant, with large fines threatening those who violate the American sanctions, whether knowingly or not.”
Stefan Fittkau, who heads the Moscow office of EagleBurgmann, the Bavaria-based industrial sealing specialists, says company sales have already plunged by 30 percent. “Orders have been cancelled or delayed — or we simply don’t receive them anymore,” he says. Novatek, Russia’s second largest natural gas company, for example, had hired EagleBurgmann to take care of seals at a vast liquefied natural gas facility on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia. Now, though, doing business with Novatek is no longer allowed.
“In the end, both sides, the Russians and the Europeans, will lose,” says Frank Schauff, head of the Association of European Businesses in Moscow.
“Russian customers have begun looking for suppliers outside of Europe,” says Ulrich Ackermann, a foreign trade expert with the German engineering association VDMA. “They are concerned that European companies, because of the threat of increased sanctions, won’t be able to deliver.”

US President Barak Obama, speaking on Ukrainian crisis in Washington, called on Russia to rein in the rebel fighters, who he said had treated remains poorly and removed evidence from the site, and persuade them to cooperate with the international investigation.
“Russia and President Putin are responsible for forcing rebels to cooperate with the investigation. It’s the least they can do,” Obama underlines.
He also stressed rebels and Russia bear a responsibility for crashing Boeing 777.
“It poses a question, what exactly they are trying to hide?” Obama asks.
Commenting on future consequences for Russia, Barak Obama says it is merely “the price for Russian behavior will increase.”

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said in comments published today that Russia was likely behind the downing of a Malaysian airliner as such an operation takes professionals and not “drunken gorillas.”
“Very professional personnel is needed to find targets and fire this missile,” he told a German newspaper about the suspected shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine which claimed 298 lives.
“It is possible that these kinds of people came from Russia,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper in comments translated into German.
Yatsenyuk suggested it was unlikely pro-Russian separatists alone had fired a missile, as “we known that such such systems can’t be operated by drunken gorillas“, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported him as saying.
The premier also said that Ukrainian forces had never used missiles in the conflict and that “all of Ukraine’s surface-to-air missiles are stationed elsewhere. We are prepared to make public all evidence and locations.”
Yatsenyuk stressed that the conflict in Ukraine was not a civil war, but “a Russian-led intervention“, describing it as “Russian-led, Russian-backed, Russian-financed and Russian-organised.”
He added that “now is the time to stop Russian aggression.”
Austrian Der Standart informs Australia has prepared a draft UN resolution with demands to all participants in eastern Ukraine, including separatists who have the remains of bodies and wreckage of Malaysian Airline MH17 at their territory, to fully cooperate with international experts and do not meddle with evidences. The newspaper also underlines only Russians could veto this UN resolution. The edition from Vienna quotes US secretary John Kerry as saying EU should toughen sanctions against Putin’s regime. It is also underlined the West have no doubts pro-Russian separatists have shot down Malaysia jet on Thursday near Donetsk using missiles from Russia.

German Christian Democratic Union and Social-Democratic party propose to send peacekeeping mission to eastern Ukraine after the tragedy with Malaysia Airline, which was allegedly shot down by pro-Russian separatists by coincidence, Der Spiegel informs. Hans-Peter Bartels, who heads the German parliament’s Defense Committee, said “UN peacekeeping mission could control joint decision.” Rolf Mützenich, deputy head of the German Social Democratic Party, also thinks “blue helmets”, who could control situation and force parties of the conflict to a ceasefire.
CDU expert in foreign affairs Andreas Schockenhoff said German Bundeswehr should join UN peacekeeping mission. “If the mission is planning to be sent, Germany should take part in it,” he told Rheinische Post.
Moreover, Russia as a permanent member of UN, could veto the idea of sending UN peacekeeping mission, Der Spiegel explains. This resolution could be adopted if every member will give its vote for it. “That’s why, at the present moment it is impossible,” the author underlines.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski in his interview German newspaper Die Welt calls for Europe to be tougher towards Russia. “I’ve warned European leaders that pro-Russian rebels have sophisticated surface-to-air missiles in eastern Ukraine,” politician said. “Of course, we need to investigate what has happened, but we know for sure that the situation in Ukraine continues to escalate. Thanks why we need to make conclusions towards those who support terrorists,” Sikorski underlines.
“As Ukraine registered the first military successes, Russia has escalated the situation immediately and supplied separatists in the east with more sophisticated weapon systems. That’s why Russia has crossed Europe’s “red line”. Two weeks ago we demanded Russia gave up control of the Ukrainian-Russian border. Instead, weapons and armored vehicles are still passes Ukrainian territory”
The head of Polish Foreign ministry underlines “the crisis could have been prevented”, but Europe has made little to influence on Russia at the all stages of the conflict.” Last year when Russia declared trade boycott to punish Ukraine for European integration, Sikorski himself “pleads with colleagues to take actions” “If we had declared some limits for Moscow and shown our solidarity with Ukraine, this escalation would probably not happen.”

It is difficult to imagine the Russian president acknowledge any culpability in the disaster Boeing Malaysia Airlines. It is not excluded he chooses the headlong rush, Vincent Jauvert writes for Le Nouvel Observateur.
“What will Putin do? He’s gone too far. In an attempt to preserve his interior prestige, Putin has no other choice but make his people believe in a new virtual reality, an international conspiracy to restrain Russia in its march towards greatness.”
“Not only, he may not recede, but could bulge the chest once more. As German foreign minister said on Sunday, it is quite possible he chooses the headlong rush and invade eastern Ukraine,” correspondent writes.
Він не лише не зробить крок назад, він ще більше задере ніс. І, як сказав міністр закордонних справ
If western countries will be consistent and will decide on Tuesday to impose tough sanctions against Moscow that are really penalize the Russia economy. This will be the beginning of a frontal impact – the end of rapprochement, which began more than 20 years ago under Gorbachor ruling, and the beginning of a new strategic ear in Europe

“For two days after Malaysia Boeing was shot down in eastern Ukraine, separatists have been hoaxing the whole world,” Dominic Johnson writes for German newspaper Tageszeitung. “They do not only hider the recovery of 298 bodies, they steal from the dead, make photos, prevent OSCE experts to enter the crash site, remove important evidences what makes difficult to investigate the crash.” On the one hand, they demonstrate their power, on the other – an admission of guilt.
The international community, the author thinks, cannot accept that. “The West will show its political inability if they will continue allowing those who are responsible for the crash, to sabotage one of the worst terrorist act for the past decades of Europe’s history.”
More than a half of the dead were people from the Netherlands, the journalist continues. The Netherlands can’t do anything by themselves. “Send special forces to take bodies will be a very risky act, which can’t be realized by any of countries along.”
So far, the reactions of Western governments are restricted by helpless appeals to Russian President Vladimir Putin: He must “do more”. This is also a declaration of bankruptcy. There are the Western governments that would have to do more – at least for their own self-esteem’s sake.
Putin, Tageszeitung adds, must stay out and leave the righty to respond appropriately for the directly affected countries. “After the terrorist attack on September 11 in the US, the allies responded immediately. The dead passengers of MH17 from July 17, 2014 earn the similar solidarity.”

“Europe, finally show us your teeth!” (later the title was changed to the softer variant – “Europe must show its strength in the face of the tragedy”) – Andrea Seibel’s comment in Die West newspaper.
By way of response, the headline on a German national newspaper’s front-page editorial on Monday urged: “Europe, Finally Show us Your Teeth!” Die Welt pointed out it was British Prime Minister David Cameron —”and obviously not Angela Merkel!”—who had just called out the European Union for shying away from a confrontation with Moscow.
For all of her power in Europe, the chancellor was not easily getting away with priding herself on creating an un-engaged, non-committal German safehouse.