The question of how Germany is positioning itself with regard to the Ukraine war also occupies the former NATO Secretary General. His demand: “A clear stance by the federal government” is needed.

Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has criticized the German government’s cautious course in the face of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

Germany is “too hesitant to deliver heavy weapons and impose sanctions,” Rasmussen told the Handelsblatt newspaper. “Of course, Germany is highly dependent on Russian gas imports, but I think a clear stance from the federal government would change the whole dynamic in Ukraine. We need German leadership.”

The Dane, who was Prime Minister of his country from 2001 to 2009 and Secretary General of the transatlantic military alliance from 2009 to 2014, called on Europeans to stop importing oil and gas from Russia immediately. «Certainly an energy embargo will have a price. But compared to the cost of a protracted war, that price would be small,” argued Rasmussen.

Stop Putin’s war machine

The greatest risk is a war of attrition. «The Russians are experts at playing with unresolved conflicts. We see this in Georgia, in Moldova and in Ukraine’s Donbass region, which they invaded back in 2014. We should do what is necessary to end this conflict quickly.” The most effective means is to stop the financing of Putin’s war machine – and this requires a freeze on all oil and gas imports.

Rasmussen viewed the planned northern expansion of NATO through the accession requested by Sweden and Finland as a historic step and a real strengthening of the alliance. “Finland has one of the strongest armies in Europe, powerful artillery, and the number of troops, not to mention the reserves, is incredibly high. Sweden has a powerful air force and significant naval capabilities.” Both countries would therefore “bring in a lot”, according to Rasmussen. “They will increase NATO’s defense capabilities – especially with a view to the Baltic States.”