Foreign media digest 26-27 of July 2014

«Putin’s design is to divide Europe and restore Russian influence on the world,” Simon Shuster writes.
Can the West stop such a figure? The only option would seem to be the steady ratcheting up of sanctions,” the article says. What happens in the aftermath will test Putin’s assessment of declining American power. “The coming days will determine whether the U.S. and Europe can form a united front against a country that virtually the entire world believes handed a loaded weapon to an unregulated militia,” the article states.

Putin must have been as appalled as anyone at the fate of the airliner. It also sabotaged his delicate power play in the region and threw him on the defensive. “Intelligence from Moscow suggests that he is bruised and angry, retreating into his circle of hawkish advisers and their nationalist rhetoric. This is the moment Confucius advises us to give the enemy a bridge over which to retreat. Instead, the west’s hawks are having a field day, deriding Putin’s paranoia as if to goad him into doing something worse,” Simons Jenkins writes in his article.
The Guardian:
“Mocking his pride and testing his paranoia is for fools. The one country that knows this and can keep a sane head on its shoulders is run by Angela Merkel. Thank goodness for Germany,” Jenkins sums up.

EU politicians are backing sanctions.
The EU’s previous unwillingness to propose sanctions that might impose real costs on the members looked more spineless than ever.
Russia has failed in its geopolitical game. Even those who were against imposing sanctions are now talking about when to impose them. “The Netherlands, which lost 193 citizens in the attack, including the eminent AIDS researcher Joep Lange, supported a toughened line; Italy, often an obstacle to tightening sanctions, made no attempt to block such moves. Several ministers spoke of a turning point in relations with Russia,” the Economist writes.
EU countries are morally ready to meet the losses after imposing economic sanctions on Russian, Polish minister of foreign affairs Radoslav Sikorski thinks.
Gazeta Wyborcza:
Mister Sikorski informed that trade with Russia makes a much larger contribution to the Polish economy than trade between Germany and Russia. Poland is ready to pay its price for imposing sanctions, because it does not tolerate Russian authorities’ behavior. Minister thinks Russia can’t conquer with Europe. “The European economy annually generates billions of euros, are eight times larger (economically) than Russia. Together with NATO are 16 times bigger. If there is a confrontation on sanctions or economic policy, we know who will come out as a winner,”- mister Sikorski said.
Steinmeier: Germany is set to back potentially sweeping new EU economic sanctions against Russia as long as the burden is fairly spread across the union.
Mister Steinmeier spoke on the eve of an EU ambassadors’ meeting due to be held on Monday, at which member states are expected to add a group of associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the EU’s blacklist for visa bans and asset freezes. The EU would be following the US, but its decision would have more impact since senior Russian figures travel and invest far more in Europe than the US.
On Tuesday, the ambassadors are due to debate sweeping economic sanctions.

Big European business is not ready for big losses because of sanctions.
Cameron: Europe must stand up to Putin now.
New York Daily News:
A company run by the one of the Tory Party’s biggest donors is in negotiations to finance a Russian oil company targeted by US sanctions against President Putin.
The Independent:
“Vitol, the world’s largest oil trader, is looking to lend Rosneft $2bn in exchange for supplies of refined products over the next five years,” the correspondent writes for The Independent. The deal would boost Rosneft’s cash reserves and, if agreed, could help mitigate the effect of US sanctions. Vitol’s chief executive Ian Taylor is one of the donors of the Conservative party, it “will be deeply embarrassing for David Cameron,” Tory’s leader who currently holds the post of Britain’s Prime Minister.
The cooperation between the most famous Dutch groups Heineken, Philips, Shell and Russian partners suddenly is put under big question. But large Dutch fund is not planning to become unprofitable.
Les Echos:
Philips director-general described the accident as “unacceptable” and called for independent inquire. Beyond that, no other Dutch multinational company dared take the plunge, the article states. Only Gasunie state company despite its close relationship with Gazprom decided to distance itself. “Our mission will be realized in the policy framework set by the Dutch authorities and Europe. Gasunie will follow this course despite its commercial interests,” the company’s representative said.
Ko Colijn, who runs Clingendael, the Netherlands’ leading foreign-relations think-tank, says that keeping discussions with Russia businesslike was a good way for Mark Rutte, the prime minister, to achieve the nation’s goals. “Let Washington, London and Melbourne do the shouting.
The Economist:
Another reason for an unwillingness to blame Russia openly and definitely is that, in 2003, then-prime-minister Jan Peter Balkenende ignored his own intelligence services and relied on Tony Blair’s word when lending the country’s support to the invasion of Iraq. Since then the Dutch have been distinctly iffy about relying on American or British spies.
The Netherlands won’t send a military mission to Eastern Ukraine to secure the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 because it could further destabilize the conflict-ridden region, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Sunday.
The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Rutte said that a military operation would likely further inflame the conflict between pro-Russia rebels and the Ukrainian government forces. “We have thoroughly studied all options in the past days, but a military mission is not realistic,” he said. “It would get involved into the conflict and could lead to further escalation.”
FIFA rejects calls to strip Russia of World Cup.
USA Today:
FIFA has rejected calls to move the 2018 World Cup from Russia, saying the tournament “can achieve positive change.”