Thursday 21 March 2024

Aspects of Russia's war on Ukraine: (3) Germany

In times gone by Germany as a whole, and most German businessmen I have met, liked to come across as the grown-ups of Europe.  Oh, their worldly wisdom!  How I remember the condescending post-Brexit lectures on the imminent departure of the whole of the City of London for Frankfurt ... [1]

Well, it didn't seem to get them very far when the custard hit the fan.  Their two aces - being deeply in bed with Russia, and exporting like crazy to China, didn't turn out quite the bankers they had assumed when Putin played his own hand: cue breast-beating and hand-wringing.  So what happened next in Germany?  Well, lots of things but I'll highlight a few:

  • A typically dynamic German practical response: massive shift towards LNG to replace NS1 / NS2 gas - long before 'someone' exercised the Semtex option
  • Hugely accelerated efforts on a large-scale shift to hydrogen fuel as the supposed saviour of German manufacturing (no tangible results yet, though)
  • Meaningful slump in said manufacturing sector (whether this is permanent 'demand destruction' is yet to be established) with baleful economic repercussions
  • Promises (as yet unfulfilled) of much more defence spending and a full-scale reorientation of policy
  • Lame & abject 'followerism' as regards military aid for Ukraine: truly, pathetically demeaning
And now, the 'intercepted military telephone discussion' of a couple of weeks back.  WTF?  Afterwards, Scholz had the gall to suggest that everyone still has complete trust in Germany as a secure & reliable military ally.  Errr, no.  Hasn't been any for years before this incident; even less (if that's possible) now.  They don't get a look-in on anything of importance.

In short, from having a plausible case for being the grown-ups of Europe, Germany now looks like the over-sized, know-nothing teenager sulking in its bedroom and defying calls to come down for the family outing.  What and how long it takes for Germans to throw off this current malaise is not something I have a detailed view on, except that nobody should ever underestimate their ultimate capacity for hard work and self-sacrifice, whether in a good cause or a bad one.  Doesn't look as though it will be in time to be of much assistance to Ukraine, though.  I suppose keeping out of the way isn't nothing, in the circumstances.  It may be the best that can be hoped for.

While we all wait to learn the outcome of this surely-temporary impasse, there's a question lingering in my mind: did Mutti realise what she was doing all those years of 'drawing Russia into the fold', and how misconceived it was?  Obviously, the German polity embraced her always-implausible policy wholesale: as Nietzsche said, " 'Credo quia absurdus est': that is what the German spirit wants" [2].

Merkel mostly keeps her peace on the matter, and we can see why; but early on, there were some hints at remorse (- unlike the shameless Schröder, only too happy to draw his enormous Russian stipend: historical, ocean-going, world-scale treachery).  She, remember, was a prize-winning Russian student: fluent in the language, in communism - and surely also in the Russian mentality?  I don't have a tenth of her first-hand experience of Russia; and for a westerner the 'Mysterious Russian Soul' takes a bit of adjusting to.  But I still reckon to have more insight than she seems to have deployed.  When you've been systematically exposed to all things Russian (including the bully Putin personally - the man who maliciously enjoyed literally setting the dogs on her) as long as she has, it's pretty weird to misread them quite as badly as she did.  I don't consider her guilty of Schröder-sin, so I can only assume her neuro-wiring is extremely well geared for language-learning but not for reading human beings.  It happens out there on the autism spectrum.

This post hasn't been much centred on Ukraine (for which apologies).  It was the Russian invasion that triggered Germany's present regression, of course - but we must surely assess there was a major fault-line in the coherence and wisdom of German geo-economic policy and overall statescraft that would have become manifest eventually, one way or another.  What are the likely consequences - e.g. for the EU?  For NATO?  The West vis-à-vis China?   Etc etc.  Very much open to any insights and perspectives on this massive and rather important topic - lots of you [2] know Germany well.

[1]  Frankfurt?!  Have you ever been there?  Would your wife be willing to live there?  Would anyone ever visit you there?
[2] OK, this quote is a bit out of context but Nietzsche very much saw the Germans as being suckers for falling in behind a Grand Idea, whether or not having serious merit.  He blamed Bismarck for using his undoubted statesmanship and populism to build up "a monstrosity of imperial power"; and I don't think he'd have liked what Merkel did either. 
[3] Am greatly missing whatever would have been Mark Wadsworth's opinions on this: he thought widely & laterally, and was an excellent German speaker.


dearieme said...

"Hugely accelerated efforts on a large-scale shift to hydrogen fuel as the supposed saviour of German manufacturing"

This seems to me to be a bet that the Laws of Thermodynamics will be repealed. They won't be.

But is it any dafter than our Net Zero laws, or compulsory EV manufacture, or the many other anti-scientific endeavours of our days?

iOpener said...

It's not just the Germans.

The whole of Western Civ has gone mad.

Matt said...

Yep, the West got rich on the back of cheap energy.
Then decided we could do away with that advantage by imposing massive Net Zero costs.
Only one way that was ever going to go - we make ourselves a lot poorer!

Caeser Hēméra said...

I think Merkel believed she had Germany and Russia entwined to such an extent that misbehaviour on either side amounted to self harm for them, as well as harm for the other side. She was just unprepared for Putin's willingness to tolerate that.

I've found Germans prone to blind spots produced from confidence in their plans, which may be the case with Merkel.

Anonymous said...

Surely Merkel's idea was a good-un? - German manufacturing plus Russian energy was a winner - as German trade figures showed.

You seem stuck on the idea that Russia was always going to play sillies - but the timeline is Nato goes East -> Kiev coup/'revolution' featuring still-undiscovered gunmen -> 8 year civil war (as predicted by Bill Burns) -> Russia finally intervenes aka "full scale invasion of 200,000 against a million".

Had the US - who, let's face it, are NATO - been sensible about Russia, they could have been an ally and Germany/Eastern Europe could have been a YUGE industrial powerhouse. But no, the neocons had to remember

a) how much looting potential there was - memories of the 1990s were still very fresh

b) that time when drunken Cossacks looted great-great-great grandpa's general store in Minsk in 1874.

c) Mackinder's World Island theory, although they didn't give it a thought from 1945-1990.

electro-kevin said...

The Germans were doing the right, grown-up things by Russia. It was the American neocons that blew it all up.

If I weren't a westerner I'd hate us too.

Anonymous said...

Why did Russia invade Georgia?

Did America make them?

Jeremy Poynton said...

Never mind the broomsticks...

Wildgoose said...

The neo-con determination to make Russia an enemy that has to be attacked was where it all went wrong.

We had the most pro-Western leadership in Russia for a generation, but instead of drawing them into the fold the neo-cons were only interested in attacking and undermining Russia. All in anticipation of the profits to be gouged by looting the place.

It's massive self-inflicted harm by the West.

Germany should have had the strength to stand up to it and openly embrace Russia to their (and our) mutual benefit rather than supinely going along with the insane neo-con plotting.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:53 - Well obviously! Before the pernicious efforts of the USA sapped his integrity, Putin was a model of democratic instincts and respect for the rule of law: never hurt a fly, at home or abroad. Willing to have opponents bumped off in the street? No. Or poisoned abroad? Never. Levelling cities with artillery fire within his own borders? Of course not. Setting a dog on a famously cynophobic woman leader of a western country upon which his economy was purposefully and peacefully to become entwined? Just good-natured playfulness; unworthy of you even to comment on it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8.50 - (assuming it's all true) you could level such stuff at many, many regimes that "the West" has been quite happy to do business with for decades - most of South America, Saudi Arabia for starters.

I can remember when our close allies the French were dumping Algerians in the Seine or the sewers - and much later there was the blowing up of Rainbow Warrior.

"The government of the day censored the news, destroyed many of the archives and prevented journalists from investigating the story. Contemporary news bulletins reported three deaths, which included a French national. It was not covered in the international press."

Sobers said...

"It's not just the Germans.
The whole of Western Civ has gone mad."


Anonymous said...

There’s two views on every statistic.
Worked with and for plenty of Germans, they are still afraid of being the aggressor.
WWII taints many families.

Anonymous said...

Who the F*ck are the ‘Neo cons?’

‘ neo cons ..Neocons..neocons..’

Neocons did this..neocons did that. Neocons made Putin cry.

Neocons are like fairies. Everyone knows about them, yet they are invisible.

Anonymous said...

There's this thing called the internet

The architects, if you like, of US policy towards Russia and Ukraine were probably Paul Wolfowitz and Zbigniew Brzezinski in the 1990s.

The builders implementing now are people like Victoria Nuland and the Institute For The Study of War, but the lists in the Wiki are pretty relevant.

Clive said...

I think the problem everyone has is, Anonymous @ 7:57, that labelling and grouping (such as “neocons”, “zionists”, “woke” and many, many others) treats the listener or the reader as nothing so much as an automaton to be programmed. We hear the word, let’s say “neocon”, and, like a tired racehorse offered a carrot on a stick, it’s like we’re supposed to perk up at the bait and charge on wherever we’re supposed to be led with all this.

I’ll go further. The whole thing has a strange, almost dream-like quality about it. The world is divided into black and white. Good and bad. Righteousness and sin. With the blacks the deepest, darkest black and the whites supposedly the brightest purest whites. The bad have simple, obvious motives with no room for ambiguity or rational and maybe even reasonable explanations. The “neocons” hate Russia. The zionists hate the Arabs. The woke hate conservatism. The ever put-upon good are Pearl Purehearts, so it seems we are expected to believe. Constantly thrashed by their opponents but implacably carrying on, for all our good.

It’s lazy and hackneyed and not a little bit insulting. A clumsy short-hand that’s supposed to save the user of such terms from having to make out their case and substantiate their arguments with facts and theories. The neocons did it. That’s all we’re supposed to need to know. Victoria Nuland and her infamous cookies are the root of all our ills.

Well. You might think that’s all sufficient. I, however, will need a little more convincing.

Anonymous said...

Clive, I take your point, but isn't the standard anti-Russian narrative just a mirror-image? "The bad have simple, obvious motives with no room for ambiguity or rational and maybe even reasonable explanations."

My interest is in how it came about that we got from the situation in 2000, when Putin asked if Russia could join NATO, and a year later Russia was offering the US as much help as it needed to find the 9/11 perps, to the situation we have now.

I strongly recommend reading Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1996 The Grand Chessboard, which (while Wolfovitz made very similar arguments) sums up the US case for detaching Ukraine from Russia.

a) the collapse of the USSR made the USA the only global superpower, and the dominant power in Eurasia for the first time

b) with Ukraine, Russia is a world power, without it only a regional power

c) therefore to keep the US position, Ukraine must be detached from the Russian orbit.

(he also mentions countries like Georgia, which also coincidentally had a "colour revolution".)

Now the sad thing is that Brzezinski really didn't see China coming up on the outside rail, or maybe he'd have had second thoughts. It seems foolish to force the world's energy giant into the arms of the world's production giant, at the expense of Europe's most - perhaps only - productive economy.

In PPP terms, the BRICS economies are larger than the G7 economy, so those people (some here?) who talk of Russia being excluded from the world economy really are wearing blinkers.

If there's a country excluded from the world economy we need to look closer to home. En route to Cardiff the other week I passed the derelict Corus steelworks at Newport. We don't make things any more (outside of a few stars like RR and Airbus at Chester) and are circling the drain demographically and economically.

ChatGPT said...

Back to the question posed ...

"German geo-economic policy emphasizes stability, trade, and diplomacy, leveraging its industrial prowess. It balances domestic interests with European integration, fostering economic resilience. Through strategic investments and collaboration, Germany strengthens its global position while upholding ethical principles. This nuanced statescraft reflects wisdom in navigating complex geopolitical landscapes and fostering sustainable growth."

Anonymous said...

German geo-economic policy emphasizes stability, trade, and diplomacy, leveraging its industrial prowess. It balances domestic interests with European integration, fostering economic resilience. Through strategic investments and collaboration, Germany strengthens its global position while upholding ethical principles. This nuanced statescraft reflects wisdom in navigating complex geopolitical landscapes and fostering sustainable growth.

Caeser Hēméra said...

With the terrorist attack in Moscow, another Putin misstep.

Instead of listening to the provided warning from the US, he decried it as election interference, and, post-event, did his usual trick of going in to hiding until a narrative could be found, which, quelle surprise, was Blame Ukraine.

Given ISIS had a crack at a Russian embassy a few weeks back, bit of a risky move, if this is part of a new campaign by them, that narrative will unravel. Muscovites have already noted it is easier to murder them in concert halls than it was for them to pay respects to Navalny.

Wildgoose said...

@Caeser Any so-called "warning" from the US was clearly only designed to throw-off accusations of blame. I am genuinely amazed at Putin's forbearance. Blaming "Ukraine" is a none-too-subtle way of pointing the finger at the people who funded these so-called "ISIS terrorists" - who have openly admitted that they were paid to do it.

We shouldn't really be surprised given previous CIA indirect involvement and support of ISIS in order to destabilise and overthrow the Syrian government.

They seem determined to poke and prod at Russia until a real war starts.

I suppose the first warning on that is likely to be Russia declaring a "no fly zone" over the Black Sea and NATO deliberately ignoring it. Things could turn nasty very quickly after that.

Caeser Hēméra said...

@Wildgoose - I have no more time for those conspiracy theories than I do that it was an FSB false flag.

ISIS-K/ISIS-C have been active in trying to get ground for a Asian Caliphate for some time now, if the US has any blame, it was the farrago in Afghanistan.

No condemnation for Putin weakening the borders?

Wildgoose said...

@Caeser The thing is with "conspiracy theories" is that they might be better described as "not yet proven" facts. No doubt we will see, as more details emerge.

And it is a simple fact that the CIA were busy arming "Democratic Revolutionaries" in Syria who promptly handed their arms over to ISIS.[*]

Furthermore, as I genuinely believe and have stated many times in the past, Humanity owes Russia for their having finally acted in Syria, helping to overthrow the abomination that was the ISIS caliphate.

[*] Historically, the CIA have been pretty reliably wrong on just about every major event. You can even go back as far as the Korean War. Apparently there was "no evidence" that China was about to invade, even when they had already captured Chinese troops in Korea.

Anonymous said...

Clive - "If Ukrainians don't want to be a part of Russia, then they have every right not to be compelled to be so."

Yes. However there is a real world out there.

Just as if I live next door to a member of a very rough motorcycle gang, I have a perfect right to do everything inside the bounds of legality to upset and annoy him. Then, if anything bad happens to me, IT'S HIS FAULT, which will be a great comfort to me in my hospital bed.

Mexico seriously considered joining BRICS, and after much thought (and doubtless the odd Washington call) decided to stick with the devil they know. Despite being personally opposed to US foreign policy and all its works, I thought that was a very wise decision, taken in the best interests of the Mexican people.

"When the elephants fight the grass is trampled"

What a pity that Ukrainian governments since 2014 have not been acting in the best interests of the Ukrainian people.

Anonymous said...

Clive - re manufacturing, I followed the link and that site raises more questions than it answers.

I tend to assume this is all not PPP adjusted, for starters - given that Russia, in 10th place, manufactures more 155mm shells than the entire EU. Then I couldn't work out the size of the different sectors. It's very good news that food and drink exports are up, but I confess that when I think of manufactured goods, I think more in terms of tons of steel or millions of computer chips than of packets of cheese or bottles of Scotch.

A site like that would be valuable with better information therein, I'm a huge fan of manufacturing because it's the pre-eminent sector where technology can improve productivity. Improving productivity in services is a lot harder, although AI has possibilities in, say, medicine.

I was watching this afternoon a young African woman, doubtless one of the Tory Party's new visa recipients, taking two brain damaged/"learning difficulty" people round the local supermarket. An important job, but productivity will probably be identical to say the 1930s, when their mothers would have done it (or more likely shopped for them).

By contrast (say) computer memories have got bigger and bigger and faster and faster, and cheaper and cheaper. My first work laptop, circa 1995, had 4meg of RAM and a 40 meg hard disk. My phone now costs maybe 5% of the laptops price, has 8 gig of RAM and 128G of memory.

But the laptop was made in the US. Phone is Chinese.

electro-kevin said...

The President of Georgia had aspirations to join NATO.

Neocons are US officials and politicians who want to interfere all over the world and create one in their own image.

Anonymous said...

Clive - another thing. Ireland is apparently #16 in the world. I'll lay a pound to a pinch of poo that is an artefact of multinational pricing policies.

As someone said of Microsoft, if you believe their accounts, Redmond in Washington State, with its 94,000 IT staff, is an unimportant, loss-making adjunct of Puerto Rico and Ireland, where the real money is made.

Clive said...

@ Anonymous 9:30

Unfortunately, we don’t have “the Ukrainian people” here to ask them whether they think their successive governments have acted in their interests (or not, as the case may be).

We can only, therefore, as you did above, project our own, personal, perspectives and opinions about what we individually believe is (or were) their best interests. Which is all fine and dandy. Where it becomes problematic is where someone says “I think this, that and the other” then seeks — rather presumptuously you might think — to bestow their own particular pearls of wisdom on an entire population. In a country they don’t live in. Of which they may know very little.

But, of course, where would the internet be without that!

Bill Quango MP said...

If the Ukrainians so hate their own government and so love Russia, why are they fighting so very, very hard to keep their ‘liberators’ out?
It’s one thing for Zelensky to mobilise his forces and feed them to the front. But once there, why don’t they just surrender? Why not greet their pals with garlands of flowers and Putin posters?
Why don’t the civilians rise up and push Zelensky out?
Why would they suffer the civilian bombing. The deliberate targeting of homes and infrastructure. The abduction of their children?
Two years of war. Why fight on? Why?

If I recall there has been just only one recorded incident of some military commander who rose up and began heading to the Capital city with all their men.
Only that city was Moscow.
Was that not frequent falling flyer, Prigozhin?
Putin’s bestie?

He stumbled into a military coup without even planning it.
So it shouldn’t be too hard for someone who really wanted to stage one. With the population behind them.

Why hasn’t some Ukrainian MajorGeneral done the same?
Pulled his command out of the line.
Moved on Kiev receiving garlands of flowers from a grateful population. With the forces sent to repel him, joining him instead?

The hated Zelensky flees. New guy declares himself president, and the war is over.

Anonymous said...

BQ - quite a lot of Ukrainians voted with their feet - either by getting out (including to Russia) or by joining the DPR/LPR forces. And of course the vast majority of the Crimea garrison chose to join Russia, and the 25% who refused went back to Ukraine.

"The deliberate targeting of homes and infrastructure."

With great respect, Russia is not deliberately bombing civilian homes. We have seen, a thousand miles south of the Black Sea, what that looks like. We saw it in Europe too, back in Arthur Harris' day.

To be fair to Harris, the idea was that German civilians were a part of the German war effort - they worked in factories and kept services running. Unpleasant, maybe immoral, but you can see where he came from. By contrast most of Ukraine's war materiel comes from elsewhere.

"The abduction of their children?"

Come on. Do you leave children in a war zone if you can possibly avoid it?

Clive said...

@ electro-kevin 9:13

That’s fine, but it doesn’t tell us an awful lot. Or even anything. When you say “the neocons” who are you talking about, specifically? Yes, yes,I know, Victoria Nuland. And yes, she does seem to get around a lot. But just her, all on her own? If there were other “neocons”, who were they? What did they do?

And whatever they did do, why did they find such an apparently receptive audience? What arguments did they use to so sway the (many and varied) Ukraine governments? And the Ukrainian oligarchies? And if they were so swayable, why did Russia not do the same swaying (but with a better offer, more money, if that’s what it came down to). What were they motivated by if it wasn’t money? And if it wasn’t financial gain but instead, rather, there were ideological levers or some other substantive influence like old grudges or scores to settle (for example) why would US “neocons” be of any particular use to either the extant political actors in Ukrainian politics or the oligarchs? Surely these were local factors to whom some grand US idealism wouldn’t seem to have much ideological appeal?

Rather, this “neocons” marlarkey has the same effect that listening to Radio Moscow on my dad’s shortwave radio as a kid in the 80’s did. Then, it was all “Wall Street” that was getting the blame from the (then) Soviet Union. Either that, or the “imperialists”.. even as a 10 year old, this was all rather lame.

Now, of course, I’m able to (unlike my ten year old self) suss out why propaganda uses such terms. One of the aims of propaganda is to flatter the audience. Or, at least, not be outright antagonistic to it. So when (say) Russia wants to slag off a country, how does it do so without also slagging off the people in that country? Why, through the magic of groups and manufactured mythical actors of course. No, implies Russia and their fellow travellers, it’s not the American people we loath (or the British or the Germans or whoever), it’s [X] [INSERT YOUR CHOSEN BOGEYMAN GROUP HERE]. If only America (or Britain or Timbuktu or wherever) could throw off the shackles of [X] group (like the “neocons”, say), everything could be peachy.

I hate to break it to you, but that is, as our American friends would have it, baloney. Even the 10 year old little me figured that, if through some mysterious mechanism “Wall Street” disappeared overnight (whoever and whatever “Wall Street” was supposed to be) then no, the Soviet Union (as it was then) wouldn’t stop mythering on about how America (and sometimes Britain) was a terrible, awful no good thing. Same with the “neocons”. If you really think that if the “neocons” vanished from the face of the earth (and how could you tell if they had?) then Russia and Ukraine would be like a Disney movie, you’d be in for a big disappointment.

Clive said...

@ Anonymous 11:03

Why does Bakhmut look like the spitting image of Gaza City then?

Caeser Hēméra said...

@wildgoose - "not proven facts"? That's a wonderful phrase I'll have to steal for when I'm having to do some heavy duty professional bullshitting.

Even Putin has had to grudgingly admit it was Islamic extremists now, although keeping a thread to Ukraine in an attempt to distract from his own error of judgement.

And the response given to Russia's treatment of the prisoners indicates ISIS haven't finished yet.

Nick Drew said...

Of all the odd, empirically-empty Russian-leaning comments hereabouts, the one I find most puzzling is 'Russia finally intervenes aka "full scale invasion of 200,000 against a million" ' from near the top. I don't really know why I bother, but ...

So we are invited to believe the multi-dimensional, seriously-attempted (if seriously botched & only narrowly thwarted) coup de main on Kyiv was anything other than a genuine attempt at full regime-change by decapitation? And the actual capture of Kherson, Melitopol, Mariupol, etc etc and the serious moves made on Kharkiv and towards Odesa - all just some sort of diversionary tactics to facilitate a modest police action protecting Russian 2014 gains in Crimea and the Donbass?

Why does a nation hurl "200,000" troops plus a large airforce and fair-sized navy into a fray if they know it's actually-doomed-because-so-hopelessly-outnumbered? Some sort of quixotic, romantic gesture? Like Polish cavalry against German tanks ... "we know we will quickly be overwhelmed, but we just have to give it a try" - that sort of thing?

I just don't know why anyone writes such stuff.

Wildgoose said...

"Like the Polish cavalry against German tanks".

You should realise that these were highly effective. Nazi Germany withdrew their tanks and put out some face-saving clever PR.

Mounted cavalry armed with anti-tank weapons on heavily wooded hills.

Terrible for the tanks. Great for the cavalry.

The truth of what has happened isn't necessarily obvious.

Anonymous said...

And the winner was ...

Anonymous said...

ND - of course Russia wanted to attempt a lightning coup-de-main against Zelensky's administration, and it didn't work, because the Ukrainian forces didn't drop their weapons. But 200,000 troops tops is not a full scale invasion against a country four times the size of England with armed forces of a million.

Now it could be that Russian intelligence said that 200,000 was all that was needed and Ukraine would fold like a cheap towel, so those numbers were considered sufficient. Who knows? Certainly the experience in pro-Russia Donbass and Luhansk might have influenced them. But 200,000 was never going to be enough IF Ukraine's Armed Forces were prepared to fight. The Wehrmacht had 3.5 million men crossing the Russian-held frontier in 1941.

We are seeing now much larger numbers of Russian troops being recruited. Russia never seems to start her wars terribly well*, but the endings are generally a different matter.

* see the battles of Tannenberg/Masurian Lakes, in what is now the Suwalki Gap. Brave soldiery, shambolic organisation.

Bill Quango MP said...

Russia never seems to start her wars terribly well*, but the endings are generally a different matter.

So, it might all come good.

Using WW1 battles as an example, Tannenberg was a terrible, terrible, disaster for czarist Russia.
Which directly led to the revolution of 1917
Which was an extinction event.

Anonymous said...

BBC iPlayer

Ukraine : Enemy in the woods

Anonymous said...

What about old-fashioned kleptocracy?

The Russian (oligarchs) would love to get their hands on Ukraine's agricultural output. They would have the twin weapons of energy and food to get the rest of the world to accept them in their 'rightful' place.

The EU would have a real problem in accepting Ukraine due to the self-same agricultural output and too many poor people. There is a parallel with the Winter War between Finland and Russia where Russia ended up with Karelia. The Finns sometimes debate getting Karelia back but realise that it is too late now.

So Germany may not wish to have a lot of poor Ukrainians being financed by them as they do with other parts of the EU but at the same time they will fear a 'no limits to Russia's borders' emanating from some in the Kremlin.

Ideal outcome from Germany's point of view would be a stalemate with Ukraine outside the EU and NATO. So there will be enough support to prevent Ukraine collapsing but not enough for them to win - they hope.