Lucas: Putin’s hand on the gas pump keeps Germany out of Ukraine mess

Lucas: Putin’s hand on the gas pump keeps Germany out of Ukraine mess
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Considering the atrocities committed by the Nazis in Ukraine during World War II, one would think the Germans would have sympathy for the Ukrainians today.

At the very least Germany, in a remorseful tribute to the millions of innocent Ukrainian civilians they slaughtered during the war, including a million Jews, would lend a helping hand.

Andrij Melnyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, told the Wall Street Journal that the Nazis killed eight million people during the 1939 Nazi invasion and occupation of Ukraine.

But instead of assisting Ukraine, Germany, a NATO “ally,” is siding with Russia and Vladimir Putin in his ominous threat to invade Ukraine. The Germans are blocking fellow NATO countries from providing military equipment to the beleaguered Ukrainians.

It is one thing to do nothing in the face of Russian aggression — it is another to block other countries from doing something.

While the living memory of the war may be fading, it is worth remembering what took place in Ukraine.

In just one of many massacres some 33,771 Jews — men, women and children — were machine gunned to death in a ravine called Babi Yar outside of Kiev. Those who survived got a bullet in the head.

German officials explained that while it sells weapons to countries around the world, shipping weapons to Ukraine was out of the question because of Germany’s role in starting World War II and the Nazi atrocities. It is restricted from doing so.

Others would argue that, because of those atrocities, Germany has a moral obligation to help Ukraine, one way or another.

Germany, which has grown increasingly dependent on Russia for energy, has blocked Estonia, a fellow NATO ally, from providing German exported artillery weapons to Ukraine by refusing to provide a change in law prohibiting such a transfer.

While it may seem like no big deal–since the U.S., Great Britain and Poland are shipping in military equipment — it is a crack in President Joe Biden’s attempt to unify NATO in the face of Russian aggression.

Some NATO partners are wary of Biden after he failed to notify any participating NATO members when he launched his humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan. They were left in the dark and forced to fend for themselves. Now he is asking them for help.

Germany is a special case. The U.S. provided untold billions of dollars in economic aid after WWII, allowed Germany to recover from World War II, thrive and become a democracy.

Thanks to the U.S., communism didn’t spread beyond the Berlin Wall separating East and West Germany. But now it’s a moot point, because Germany is becoming a Russian vassal state.

Germany, in its campaign to go totally green, has shut down its nuclear power facilities and is phasing out coal. It has become dependent on Russia for its energy.

Germany currently gets more than half of the natural gas from Russia. Soon it will get more when Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine, starts pumping more natural gas into Germany.

Work on the completion of construction of the new Russian pipeline, halted under former President Donald Trump, resumed when President Joe Biden green lighted the project by eliminating Trump’s economic sanctions. It was a Biden gift to Putin and to outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

That was done after Biden shut down the U.S. XL Keystone pipeline and halted oil and gas discovery and production on federal lands. Now the U.S., once energy independent, is importing energy oil from Russia, just like Germany.

Putin’s imminent invasion or annexation of Ukraine is eerily similar to when the western allies in 1938 bowed to Hitler, who was threatening invasion, and allowed him to annex parts of Czechoslovakia. A year later he invaded Poland and began World War II.

It is sad that we no longer have any political leaders with a living memory of World War II. That is why we could repeat it — only worse.

Peter Lucas is a veteran Massachusetts political reporter and columnist.

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