Brandishing a confrontation with German tanks… and the “collective aggression of the West”
Brussels: Shawqi Al-Rayes – Moscow. Kyiv: «Asharq Al-Awsat»
Russian President Vladimir Putin invoked the spirit of the “Great Patriotic War” as he commemorated yesterday the 80th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory in the Battle of Stalingrad, which in 1943 marked the beginning of the defeat of Nazi Germany.
The Russian name for World War II carried additional connotations this year, with the intensification of confrontation with the West. The Kremlin deliberately made comparisons and repeated that Russia is facing in Ukraine a “new Great Patriotic War” in which the “collective West” united a broad coalition that Putin said his country was “capable of defeating” as it did when it defeated the armies of Nazi leader Hitler. He hinted that “Russia’s response to threats will not be limited to armored vehicles alone, and everyone must understand that.” Referring to Western, and especially German, commitments to deliver heavy tanks to Ukraine.
Recalling the spirit of the Battle of Stalingrad, Putin said: “Nazism in its modern form is a threat to the Russian Federation, and we must once again confront the collective aggression of the West.”
In a related context, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, accompanied by 15 prominent officials of the European Union, held a summit in Kyiv with the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky; to enhance support. And announced the imposition of a new package of sanctions against Russia. “By February 24, we intend to impose a tenth package of sanctions,” von der Leyen said, in a joint press conference with Zelensky. And she pointed out that the current sanctions are “undermining” the Russian economy, estimating that Moscow is losing “about 160 million euros per day” due to setting a ceiling on the price of its oil.