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Meeting in Brussels: NATO must prevent the Putin trap from closing

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NATO must prevent the Putin trap from closing

A Ukrainian soldier is in the foreground in the east of the country.  The conflict with pro-Russian separatists began in 2014

A Ukrainian soldier is in the foreground in the east of the country. The conflict with pro-Russian separatists began in 2014

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The NATO-Russia Council is meeting for the first time in more than two years. On the Russian side, Deputy Defense Minister Grushko, who is remembered by many as „arrogant and frozen”, is negotiating. Some things in the meeting will be different than in the past.

MEvery weekday morning, at 10 am, in the large tap-resistant conference room at NATO headquarters in Brussels: The NATO-Russia Council is meeting for the first time in two and a half years. Much at stake: After security talks between Washington and Moscow on Monday in Geneva, this is the West’s second meeting with Russia.

In December, President Vladimir Putin finally demanded „security guarantees” from NATO in a draft treaty that had already been fully drawn up. The Kremlin wants to create a new security architecture in Europe and divide the continent into spheres of influence.

So there is a lot to talk about. That is why Moscow agreed to hold a meeting in Brussels this time. That was different recently, for years the Kremlin has not responded even to NATO’s calls. The reason: since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, meetings have often been frozen: allegations, threats, arguments about the agenda – in the end, the Russian representative often left the table without a greeting.

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Things will be different at Wednesday’s meeting. The ambassadors of the 30 member states and Russia no longer meet alone under the chairmanship of NATO President Jens Stoltenberg. This time the top diplomats and generals from Washington and Moscow are in the room – and they will take matters into their own hands.

As in Geneva, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will be there. Moscow, on the other hand, will not send Sergei Ryabkov, as it was two days ago, but – accompanied by General Alexander Fomin – another deputy foreign minister: Alexander Grushko. The 66-year-old is well known in Brussels, and was Russia’s ambassador to NATO from 2012 to 2018. In the military and diplomatic circles of the alliance, the man is still said today as „polished, arrogant and ice cold”.

„Saber rattles, threatening gestures, muscle games – this is Putin’s strategy”

Before the talks between Russia and the United States, the Washington correspondent Schwarzkopf spoke of a „little rattling of swords” on the part of the Americans. Moscow’s Wanner correspondent believes in the search for „the lowest possible denominator”.

Allianz is not sure what exactly will happen on Wednesday morning. „There is some kind of tension,” says one diplomat. Will the talks continue for eight hours, as in Geneva? Will Moscow open the meeting with a forty-minute blitzkrieg against the West?

Grushko, as everyone in Brussels knows, is of a different caliber than his colleague Ryabkov. Another diplomat asks, „What happens if the Russians get up quickly and then riot with the 'green men’ in the Baltic states in the evening to put pressure on us?”

A tweet from the Russian Embassy in London on Monday afternoon caused an uproar at the headquarters. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attacked the alliance head-on: „NATO has become a purely geopolitical project, the goal of which is the control of those territories that have become orphaned since the end of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.”

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Is this how you talk about NATO members like Poland or Lithuania if you really want to negotiate? Something else infuriated NATO strategists: Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov contemptuously phrased in Geneva on Monday that NATO should „pack its things up and go to the limits of 1997.”

In addition to America and Canada, 28 European countries are now participating in talks with Moscow for the first time on Wednesday morning. This is important from NATO’s point of view. The alliance knows that Putin looks mainly to Washington and prefers to settle all questions regarding the security architecture in Europe with US President Joe Biden alone. It’s a balancing act: NATO must prevent the Putin trap from closing, and the West must be prevented from being divided by Moscow.

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Russia’s demands are already on the table, and for many NATO countries they seem to be a „dictation”. „We certainly would not prefer Moscow to work through one paragraph after another,” the alliance says. Putin wants NATO to commit not to engage in activity in Ukraine or Eastern Europe in the future. In addition, no other countries should be allowed to join the alliance. It’s a frontal attack.

Putin is now running out of hands. These are demands that NATO can never accept. Only the country itself and the 30 members of the coalition could decide whether to accept Ukraine: “No one else has the right to say anything about it,” Stoltenberg said.

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The conflict between Russia and Ukraine

But there are also issues where convergence seems possible: more transparency in military exercises, better communication channels, and disarmament. „Hopefully we can agree on how to move forward and agree on a series of meetings,” Stoltenberg said. He wants to launch a long-term „process” in which the two sides honestly express their views and at some point begin to negotiate point by point. But will Moscow play a role?

NATO military circles assert that the build-up of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine continues and that Moscow will be in a position to attack Ukraine from three sides at the same time – and can also count on the reinforcement of dozens of Russian forces. Thousands of soldiers from the separatist areas of the Donbass. This is the bleak and threatening backdrop against which the talks in Brussels are now taking place.

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How does the EU punish Russia if it invades?

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eIt is not easy to vote on possible sanctions against Russia, whether within the European Union or between it and the United States. USA President Joe Biden He gave a glimpse last week when, in his own words, he said that if Russia had only „minor intervention” in Ukraine, the appropriate response would be moot, while Moscow would face huge costs if it invaded.

Thomas Gotchaker

Political correspondent for the European Union, NATO and the Benelux countries, based in Brussels.

This was definitely not intended for the public; who – which White House Since then he has spent a lot of time not escalating the comment. The internal debate continued on Monday. EU foreign ministers discussed in Brussels, Ukraine was the most important topic. In the afternoon, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken joined via videotape from Washington.

On the European side, the European Union Commission to coordinate penalties. On the one hand, this is unusual, because usually the Council and Member States have their hats when it comes to this issue. They decide on the joint actions that are drawn up by the European External Action Service, which works „in tandem” with the Commission. On the other hand, it is now mainly about coercive economic measures; The commission is more efficient for that. Politically, Ursula von der Leyen took the lead when she presented a set of options at the European Council in December.

Moscow must be left in the dark

Almost nothing is known about its contents. The heads of government circulated among themselves, without any other officials; Before that they had to hand over their cell phones. UNHCR is now in in-depth talks with individual countries – especially those that will be most affected by the impacts. In addition, groups of states coordinate among themselves, all informally. On the other hand, the responsible working groups of the Council were not involved. “What goes in there is instantly made public,” says one diplomat. On the other hand, leaving Moscow in the dark about exactly what to expect is part of the strategy. If the worst comes to the worst, you will be able to make a decision very quickly. A senior EU official noted that in September 2014, it only took three days for the union to coercive measures to tighten. At that time, pro-Russian separatists bombarded the city of Mariupol with artillery.

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Corona pandemic: no concessions because of Corona – Berlin MPs get more money

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aunder Than in Brandenburg Members of the lower house of parliament in Berlin are not giving up on increasing diets during the Corona pandemic. Starting this month, these amounts will increase by 125 euros to 6,657 euros per month. It came beforeBZ„.

The 1.9 percent additional cost is an adjustment based on the evolution of average wages from 2019 to 2020. In a national comparison of state parliaments, Berlin MPs’ bonuses are still in the lower midfield. In 2020, there was a significant increase in diets of nearly 60%. This was with Shifting from free time to a full-time parliament.

In Brandenburg, SPD, CDU, Greens, Left and BVB/Free Voters announced a suspension of the increase with dire economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

All developments in the live broadcast tape:

8:15 a.m. – Companies ask that infected people asymptomatic work in key positions

In light of the impending bottlenecks in critical infrastructures, the Municipal Corporations Association (VKU) has introduced a role in employing asymptomatic infected persons in important positions. „It will be important to get help from politicians in the event of an emergency, such as the recent abolition of quarantine to strengthen communications,” VKU general manager Ingbert Liping said upon request. „Specifically, for example, the use of asymptomatic infected persons in key positions should be allowed.”

Thus, the association builds on more recent calls from business associations for so-called quarantines for work. „This tool, which allows employees in quarantine to continue working as part of a special concept of hygiene, has already proven its value in the first and second waves of the epidemic,” the Federation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) announced at the beginning of January.

8:04 am – More Covid patients in Berlin hospitals

As the number of infections increases, so does the number of Covid-19 patients in Berlin hospitals. In the past seven days, 16.3 of 100,000 residents received inpatient treatment, according to the health department. A week ago it was 13.1, two weeks ago it was 4.0. The corresponding traffic light in the Senate’s warning system is red, but it still shows a yellow one when intensive care units are occupied — their occupancy with coronavirus patients has remained relatively flat for weeks.

06:24 am – Lockdown lifted in Chinese city of millions after a month

A month later, authorities in the city of Xi’an lifted the lockdown on 13 million residents of the central Chinese capital on Monday. According to the city administration, the status of the ancient imperial city, which has seen 2,000 good infections since December, has been reduced to „low risk”. Lifting the curfew.

6:05 am – Schulz promised poor countries more German help in the fight against Corona

Development Minister Svenja Schulz promised poor countries more German assistance in the fight against the Corona pandemic. The German Social Democratic Party politician told Reuters news agency that Germany had already provided more than 500 million euros to boost good framework conditions for vaccine production in Africa. One cooperates above all with South Africa, Rwanda, Ghana and Senegal. “I want to expand this support even more,” the development minister said. Schultz will meet the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in Geneva on Monday.

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5:15 a.m. – Two-thirds of clinics anticipate staff shortages when vaccination begins

On average, 89 percent of clinic staff who come into contact with patients have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least twice. This was the result of a survey conducted by the German Hospital Association (DKG), whichGermany editorial networkPresent. Varying by professional groups, the vaccination rates in the hospital nursing service are the highest with an average of 95 percent. In intensive care, however, the rate is only 87 percent. The vaccination rate among physicians is exactly an average of 89 percent. .

According to the survey, two-thirds (66 percent) of hospitals expect restrictions on patient care if unvaccinated staff are no longer allowed to work as of March 16. 34% do not expect it. The head of the DKG, Gerald Gass, told „RND” that the numbers showed a „satisfactorily high” vaccination rate in clinics. „However, at the same time, it is also becoming clear that adherence to facility-related immunization can cause problems for patient care.”

4:53 a.m. – SPD Deputy Kuchaty calls for clarification of 4th vaccination

SPD Vice President Thomas Kochati expects a clear announcement from the Prime Ministers’ Conference on Monday that a fourth vaccination is not currently necessary. „Many citizens are asking in the doctor’s office if they need a fourth vaccination now,” the opposition leader in the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament told DPA. Clarity is now required. With the so-called third vaccination, a person is well protected, which is also evidenced by the experiences of countries where vaccinations have already been given for the fourth time. „The priority remains that those who are not fully vaccinated can receive boosters until the third vaccination.”

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4:52 am – Poll: Third to tighten corona measures

In light of the huge increase in the number of corona infections, about a third of people in Germany (34 per cent) are in favor of tightening the measures. According to a survey conducted by opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the German news agency, about another third (35 percent) consider the current restrictions valid and sufficient to counteract the rapid spread of the omicron virus variant. However, 24 percent are in favor of easing. Seven percent do not provide any information.

4:04 a.m. – Seven-day nationwide infection rate hits another high of 840.3

New cases of coronavirus in Germany have again reached a high level. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) gave The occurrence of seven days Monday with 840.3 employment. The value on Sunday was 806.8, and it was 528.2 on Monday last week. the number of new infections Within 24 hours, according to health authorities’ data on Monday 63,393 – After 85,440 the day before and 34,145 on Monday last week.

As announced by the RKI, citing data from health authorities, on Monday 28 new deaths Calculated in connection with the Corona virus.

According to the latest information received from the institute, the health authorities have recorded a total of 8,744,840 cases since the beginning of the epidemic. The total number of corona deaths recorded in Germany is now 116.746. The RKI estimates the number of people who have recovered from a disease caused by the Corona virus in Germany at 7,273,100.

03:44 a.m. – Minister of Family Affairs calls for schools and day care centers to be prioritized for PCR tests

In light of scarce laboratory capabilities, Federal Minister for Family Affairs Anne Spiegel (The Greens) is calling for teachers and children in primary schools and daycares to be prioritized for access to PCR tests. „If there are indeed fewer PCR tests available in the future, priority should also be given to teachers, daycare and primary school children,” Spiegel told Funk Media Group newspapers.

02:49 a.m. – Secretary Spiegel helps day care centers and schools

Due to the huge number of coronavirus infections, Family Minister Anne Spiegel is providing temporary help to schools and day care centers that have a particularly stressed out staff. Nearly 8,000 educational professionals from special federal programs can help care for children in the facilities for six weeks, the Green Party politician told Funk Media Group newspapers (Monday). Over the next few weeks, it will be important to mobilize all available resources so that schools and day care centers can maintain their regular operations. „This way, we give daycares and schools more flexibility and help fill the staff shortage.”

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12:01 am – Bavarian MPs are still hesitant on the subject of compulsory vaccination

A large percentage of the members of the Bundestag from Bavaria do not have a clear opinion on the subject of compulsory vaccination. This is the result of a survey conducted by the radio station Antenne Bayern. Accordingly, 29 percent spoke in favor of the general corona vaccination starting at the age of 18, and 18 percent opposed it. The majority – 39 percent – has not yet formed a final opinion and wants to wait for discussions in Parliament first. 14 percent did not respond to the radio station’s request or said they did not want to comment.

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According to the assessment, there are significant differences between the two parties. While 22 of the 33 answering politicians from CSU have not yet committed, 16 (with 22 answers) from SPD spoke out in favor of compulsory vaccination. In the AfD, all MPs who answered were against compulsory vaccination.

11:13 pm – WHO: The end of the Corona pandemic in Europe is „reasonable” after the Omicron wave

The World Health Organization does not rule out putting an end to the Corona epidemic in Europe after the current Omicron wave. „It is reasonable that the region is moving towards the end of the epidemic phase,” WHO Europe chief Hans Kluge told AFP on Sunday. But he cautioned at the same time to be careful due to the occurrence of other possible mutations in the Corona virus.

When the current omicron wave subsides in Europe, Kluge explained, there will be „global immunity for a few weeks and months, either thanks to vaccination or because people have immunity to infection.” In addition, the WHO representative added, there are seasonal effects on the upcoming spring and summer.

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Prime Ministers Conference

Kluge summed up his forecast: „So we are preparing for the fact that there will be a period of calm before Covid-19 returns by the end of the year, but the epidemic does not necessarily return.”

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French presidential candidate Zemmour attracts Le Pen’s team

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IFrance, it’s time for the fugitives. Momentum is in favor of Eric Zemmour and against the trend of reconnaissance. The 63-year-old presidential candidate promises a „Union of the Right” and has political heavyweights Marine Le Pen and her National Rally.

In Cannes, Front National and current MEP Gilbert Collard changed his flag: as if there were no pandemic precautions, he gave his new „friend” Zemmour a long, sincere hug. In turn, he insisted that Collard be celebrated as a harbinger of a „Union of the Right” in his rally in front of more than 4,000 supporters on Saturday. The newcomer was greeted with great applause.

The head of the national assembly group in the European Parliament, Jerome Riviere, had earlier announced his move to Zemmour. „Boldness, bravery, and vitality are on Zemour’s side today,” Collard said. With him I gain hope again. He wanted to confirm that he had nothing against Marine Le Pen. party founder Jean Marie Le Pen He renamed the boisterous lawyer Gilbert „Cunard” („the total idiot”). „The day will come when Marine Le Pen will do the same and join Eric Zemmour,” Collard said.

Before him, Philippe de Villiers, one of the most prominent figures of the anti-European right, had hailed Zemmour as a valiant hero for uniting the „patriots”.

Losing Rio hurts Le Pen

According to a recent survey by Ipsos for Le Monde and the Jean Jaures Foundation, Zemmour can count on 13 percent of the vote in the first ballot in April, and Marine Le Pen with 15.5 percent. By right-wing union, Zemmour is referring to a broad spectrum of voters, from ex-Sarkozy and Fillon supporters to those disappointed in Le Pen, to Huitarists.

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