Putin mouthpiece Prof. Avatkov says Nato is 'all about war'

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A majority of people in almost all 18 countries surveyed by US based Pew Research Center say they no confidence in the Russian president doing the right thing in global affairs. Putin’s ratings have reached record lows in countries around the world as Russia continues to wage war on its neighbour Ukraine.

Pew’s research also shows among supporters of populist, right wing parties, confidence in Putin has decreased the most drastically.

The Russian dictator has also shattered his own country’s reputation with an average 85 percent of respondents across 18 countries – including the UK, US, Poland, Australia and Japan – voicing an unfavourable opinion of Russia.

Sixty-six percent of UK respondents report a very unfavourable view of Russia with 20 percent having a somewhat unfavourable opinion, the research shows.

The plunge in Russia’s reputation has been especially steep in South Korea. Last year 42 percent of South Koreans saw Russia as a reliable partner. Now that figure has plummeted to 16 percent.

Social media has been turning against Putin too with Twitter flagging a tweet by Russia’s foreign ministry which blamed Ukraine for the destruction of a shopping centre in Kremenchuk in which at least 18 people were killed and 60 injured.

The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO has also proven to be a giant own goal for Putin, who in part used the prospect of the military alliance’s expansion as justification for the war in Ukraine.

NATO invited Sweden and Finland on Wednesday to join the military alliance in one of the biggest shifts in European security in decades.

Russia’s invasion pushed Helsinki and Stockholm to drop their traditional neutrality, in a strategic blow to Putin.

And as Russia ploughs billions into its war with Ukraine, G7 countries will be raising £494 billion ($600bn) in private and public funds over five years to finance infrastructure in developing countries in a bid to counter China’s multitrillion-dollar Belt and Road project.

By doing so, the G7 aims to expand its sphere of influence, just as Russia is shunned by states across the globe.

Putin’s waning influence and credibility in the West come as prospects worsen for his favoured White House candidate Donald Trump regaining the presidency.

Matthias Koch, editor-in-chief of German media outlet RND, said: “Putin assessed Trump as unstable and simple-minded: from Moscow’s point of view, the ideal candidate for the White House.

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“Once there, Trump actually did, knowingly or not, what Putin wanted. Like no president before him, Trump divided American society as well as the Western alliance, all to the greatest pleasure of the Kremlin ruler.”

He explained that Mr Trump’s return to the White House would be welcomed by Putin, who would end US support for Ukraine.

Mr Koch said: “But for Trump, who for a while was already considered the most likely Republican presidential candidate, the outlook is currently darkening.”

Mr Trump’s fellow Republican, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has been tipped as a top potential rival for the 2024 presidential nomination, although neither he nor the former president has declared an intention to run.

Mr DeSantis has emerged as a fundraising giant with an election war chest similar to Mr Trump’s in size.

A recent opinion poll in the state of New Hampshire, traditionally the site of the first presidential primary, showed Mr Trump and Mr DeSantis in a statistical tie among likely Republican voters.

The University of New Hampshire poll found 39 percent supported Mr DeSantis, with 37 percent backing Mr Trump.

It represents a dramatic swing from October when Mr Trump had twice Mr DeSantis’ support.

Details emerging from the hearings into the storming of the Capitol on 6 January, 2021, may also harm Mr Trump’s prospects of regaining the White House, in what could be a disappointment for Putin as well as his likely preferred president.

In a further blow to Putin, Germany is ramping up its military capabilities as fast as it can and will begin the NATO ratification process for Sweden and Finland this week.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters at the NATO summit in Madrid his country will continue to expand its contribution on land, at sea and in the air.

He said Germany will permanently maintain a regional marine commando in the Baltic Sea, a tank division with 15,000 soldiers and 20 naval units.

Politically, the two parties clearest in their criticism of Russia and their approval of arms deliveries to Ukraine – the Greens and CDU – have grown in strength in Germany.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, the CDU improved from 33 percent to 35.7 percent in an election on May 15.

Support for the Greens almost double from 8.4 percent to 16.2 percent.
All other parties from the SPD to the AfD suffered losses.

Mr Koch said: “The fact the Greens and the CDU/CSU now dominate so much in Germany is one of the worst pieces of news for Putin at the moment.

“The man who likes to manipulate hearts and minds and who has spent years cultivating a Russia-friendly political landscape is now reaching his limits in Germany.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg

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