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Isolating Moscow - 'most stupid decision one could come up with' -- German media

As for the situation in Ukraine, "there is hope in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's deescalating tones", Germany's Ludwigsburger Kreiszeitung says about the Russian president's news conference. "He wants a new order to be established in Ukraine, with people having nothing in common with the old corrupt class."

"Putin has even expressed sympathy for some demonstrators and was highly skeptical of a new political future of ex-President Yanukovych," the daily newspaper said. "Raising the issue of Russia's legitimacy to interfere in such a way in the neighboring countries' internal problems, will hardly produce any results."

"What is more important is the fact that Russia wants to be entitled to vote on the future of Ukraine, namely to have a deciding vote," it added.

Nuernberger Nachrichten said "the conflict around Ukraine has not escalated yet", and the Russian President "indicated [at the news conference] his preparedness for negotiations".

"This should be the top-priority target of all diplomatic efforts -- to figure out together with the Kremlin's chief how the future of Crimea and Ukraine may look like," it said. "Before these talks are held, it will be rather counterproductive to continue irritating Russia by some questionable sanctions, as Putin's answer would be clear -- he also can apply economic sanctions, by shutting off gas, for example."

The daily suggested "resuming contacts" and "at least trying to understand Russia," which could facilitate crisis resolution.

"The West should not break off contacts and should use every opportunity diplomacy offers", Esslinger Zeitung said, adding that Russia "should not even for a moment regard it as a sign of weakness".

"Russia has its own interests, as well as the West has its own ones," General-Anzeiger said. "No one will be able to get ahead while threatening."

"The EU that is to a great extent in a state of unconsciousness now has already experienced this in quite another sphere - in espionage by the US National Security Agency (NSA)", the newspaper said. "All these threats, complaints and refutations do not help. The only thing that helps is analyzing others' interests in a way that both sides are able to ensure a balance of interests."

"Barack Obama's grand idea to isolate Moscow is the most stupid decision one could come up with in this situation," Freie Presse said. "It is to be hoped that the federal government [of Germany] will adhere to another opinion."

"Berlin has theorized much on its new role in the foreign policy. It is time to play this role now," the daily said. "It is in our interests to maintain contacts with Russia. Only in such a manner we can act constructively and avoid mutual threats before someone loses its nerve."

[Source: Itar Tass, Berlin, 05Mar14]

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