Mechberger: ‘Putin is now fighting for his power in Ukraine’

BSandra Meißberger’s political talk on Tuesday was about Putin’s war goals — but also about the coronavirus pandemic. On the Russian war in Ukraine, Meysburger spoke with Rüdiger von Fritsch, the former German ambassador to Moscow, about Corona with Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD), who outlined his strategy for the coming months. Journalists also discussed Ulrike Hermann (Taz), Ingo Zamperoni (ARD TV presenter) and Livia Gerster (Political Editor at FAZ).

Economics lecturer Peter Jania, who lives in Shanghai, gave insight into the situation of Corona in China and was added to the programme. He studies at Tongji University and has been stuck in his office on campus since early March. Ganea has written a WELT field report on the strict lockdown in the Chinese capital.

Jania reported that the campus was cordoned off because one person was injured. He and his colleagues are no longer allowed to leave the campus, they have been suspended since March 9. Since the canteen was no longer accessible either, the food was brought without selection. I had to eat what was delivered for over a month. Jania said.

Peter Janja (left) was a caller from Shanghai, Karl Lauterbach (center) discussed with Sandra Meischberger

Source: ARD / © WDR / Oliver Ziebe

But the students did worse than him. Sometimes there were six of them living in dormitories. The only way out is the corona test, with protective suits. Jania: “It has nothing to do with medical considerations anymore. This is just a meaningless ritual that requires obedience.”

There are also protests against these measures, but you get more of this on social networks than in Shanghai itself. In addition, the Chinese government recently made it clear that it will not be affected by the protests and will stick to no-Covid. strategy.

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Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the confinement strategy was wrong. Lockdown measures, for example, can’t beat an omicron wave. And: “The next next wave is getting a little more contagious again.” According to Lauterbach, the new variants BA.4 and BA.5, observed in South Africa, show: “It’s a race that can’t be won.”

The health minister said that so far, Germany has weathered the epidemic relatively well. A study conducted by the European Agency for Infectious Diseases (ECDC) showed that the Federal Republic of Germany is better off than Italy, France or Great Britain for every 100,000 people who died from or because of Corona.

Karl Lauterbach

Karl Lauterbach

Source: ARD / © WDR / Oliver Ziebe

Journalist Hermann saw it in Taz quite differently. “More than 2.7 million people over the age of 60 are not immunized and are at severe risk,” she said. The next coronavirus will come in the fall and it will start all over again. Then the schools closed again, although the children were vaccinated. Just to save those who refuse to be vaccinated,” Hermann said. “To all those who refuse to be vaccinated: this is really rude.”

Lauterbach agreed with her frankly. It is unfortunate that the Bundestag did not comply with his request for compulsory vaccination. However, he would like to thank all citizens who continue to wear mouth and nose protection, for example in the supermarket, despite the fact that masks are no longer mandatory. “This is still important protection for you and others.”

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However, Lauterbach said: “We did not succeed perfectly, but judging by the number of our elderly population and the large number of people who refuse to be vaccinated, we have had fewer deaths due to the Corona epidemic.”

The second major theme of the program was the Ukraine war. Recently, on Victory Day on May 9, Putin gave a speech during a major military parade in Moscow. Rüdiger von Fritsch was Germany’s ambassador to Moscow from 2014 to 2019 and witnessed the show up close several times.

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Although the feeling of the liberation of Nazi Germany by the Allies was also present during the rallies, “there was also a strong feeling of malaise about the method that Vladimir Putin used today.” Von Fritsch said his current strength.

Rudiger von Fritsch

Rudiger von Fritsch

Source: ARD / © WDR / Oliver Ziebe

Initially, Putin had two war goals, and the third was added over time. First, no part of ancient and great Russia should be allowed to drift west, like Ukraine. Second, Putin wants to weaken Europe and change the European peace system. And third: “Putin is now fighting for his power in Ukraine. That is why he will continue the war.”

The war has already affected Russia: “Putin is causing endless and lasting damage to his country, its interests, and the people there,” von Fritsch said.

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Journalist Livia Gerster of the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday” said the Russian president’s speech showed no sign of de-escalation. We wanted to see it, but you can’t see it. Putin did not threaten a nuclear strike, but on the other hand he seemed somewhat helpless. Journalist “Taz” Ulrike Hermann was relieved after the speech. The strange rhetoric showed how weak Russia or Putin is.

in discussion

In the discussion of “Maischberger” (from left to right): Ulrike Herrmann (“taz”), Livia Gerster (“FAS”), Ingo Zamperoni (everyday topics), Sandra Maischberger

Source: ARD / © WDR / Oliver Ziebe

In their view, the Russians are only ready to support the war if they do not have to go to the front themselves. The announcement of general mobilization could have caused problems for Putin among the population. Meanwhile, Putin himself may expect the West to weaken its resolve.

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