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2016.02.12 09:14

Putin ‘a bigger threat to Europe than ISIS’

DELFI.lt2016.02.12 09:14

Russian president Vladimir Putin to trying to prompt the disintegration of the EU by flooding Europe with refugees through continuing Russian military action and intervention in Syria.

Russian president Vladimir Putin to trying to prompt the disintegration of the EU by flooding Europe with refugees through continuing Russian military action and intervention in Syria.

„The leaders of the US and the EU are making a grievous error in thinking that president Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a potential ally in the fight against Islamic State. The evidence contradicts them. Putin’s aim is to foster the EU’s disintegration, and the best way to do so is to flood Europe with Syrian refugees,” said billionaire financier George Soros writing in The Guardian.

Russia has launched a sustained air attack on Northern Syria and in particular the city of Aleppo in support of an offensive of the forces of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad driving over 20,000 refugees towards the border with Turkey in just a short period.

“Putin is a gifted tactician, but not a strategic thinker. There is no reason to believe he intervened in Syria in order to aggravate the European refugee crisis. Indeed, his intervention was a strategic blunder because it embroiled him in a conflict with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which has hurt the interests of both,” writes Soros.

“But once Putin saw the opportunity to hasten the EU’s disintegration, he seized it. He has obfuscated his actions by talking of cooperating against a common enemy, Isis. He has followed a similar approach in Ukraine, signing the Minsk agreement but failing to carry out its provisions.”

“It is hard to understand why US and EU leaders take Putin at his word rather than judging him by his behaviour. The only explanation I can find is that democratic politicians seek to reassure their publics by painting a more favourable picture than reality justifies. The fact is that Putin’s Russia and the EU are engaged in a race against time: the question is which one will collapse first.”

Soros said that the Russian economy was on the verge of collapse with continuing low oil and commodity prices and a large part of its foreign debt maturing in 2017. He said the most effective way for Putin’s regime to avoid collapse was by causing the EU to collapse first.

“An EU that is coming apart at the seams will not be able to maintain the sanctions it imposed on Russia following its incursion into Ukraine. On the contrary, Putin will be able to gain considerable economic benefits from dividing Europe and exploiting the connections with commercial interests and anti-European parties that he has carefully cultivated,” he writes.

He said the EU has learnt to muddle through one crisis after another but now it is faced with five or six crises at the same time, with Angela Merkel recognising that the refugee crisis has the potential to tear the EU apart.

Europe’s real enemy are not ISIS, which poses a threat with its terrorist attacks, but Putin, says Soros.

 “The race for survival pits the EU against Putin’s Russia. Isis poses a threat to both, but it should not be overestimated. Attacks mounted by jihadi terrorists, however terrifying, do not compare with the threat emanating from Russia,” Soros said.