500 foreign companies have pulled up stakes in Russia, scaled back operations and investment, or pledged to do so.

“Russia does not have the capabilities to replicate domestically the technology that it would otherwise have gained from overseas,” according to an analysis by Capital Economics, a research group based in London. That is not a good sign for increasing productivity, which even before the war, was only 35 to 40 percent of the United States’.

The result is that however the war in Ukraine ends, Russia will be more economically isolated than it has been in decades, diminishing whatever leverage it now has over the global economy as well as its own economic prospects.

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Will War Make Europe’s Switch to Clean Energy Even Harder?

At the Siemens Gamesa factory in Aalborg, Denmark, where the next generation of offshore wind turbines is being built, workers are on their hands and knees inside a shallow, canoe-shaped pod that stretches the length of a football field. It is a mold used to produce one half of a single propeller blade. Guided by laser markings, the crew is lining the sides with panels of balsa wood.

The gargantuan blades offer a glimpse of the energy future that Europe is racing toward with sudden urgency. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia — the European Union’s largest supplier of natural gas and oil — has spurred governments to accelerate plans to reduce their dependence on climate-changing fossil fuels. Armed conflict has prompted policymaking pledges that the more distant threat of an uninhabitable planet has not.

Smoothly managing Europe’s energy switch was always going to be difficult. Now, as economies stagger back from the second year of the pandemic, Russia’s attack on Ukraine grinds on and energy prices soar, the painful trade-offs have crystallized like never before.

Moving investments away from oil, gas and coal to sustainable sources like wind and solar, limiting and taxing carbon emissions, and building a new energy infrastructure to transmit electricity are crucial to weaning Europe off fossil fuels. But they are all likely to raise costs during the transition, an extremely difficult pill for the public and politicians to swallow.

unwinding efforts to shut coal mines and stop drilling new oil and gas wells to replace Russian fuel and bring prices down.

proposed a carbon tax on imports from carbon-producing sectors like steel and cement.

And it has led the way in generating wind power, especially from ocean-based turbines. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, for example, has been instrumental in planting rows of colossal whirligigs at sea that can generate enough green energy to light up cities.

Europe, too, is on the verge of investing billions in hydrogen, potentially the multipurpose clean fuel of the future, which might be generated by wind turbines.

halted approval of Nord Stream 2, an $11 billion gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea that directly links Russia to northeastern Germany.

As Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, said when she announced a plan on March 8 to make Europe independent of Russian fossil fuels: “We simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us.” The proposal calls for member nations to reduce Russian natural gas imports by two-thirds by next winter and to end them altogether by 2027 — a very tall order.

This week, European Union leaders are again meeting to discuss the next phase of proposals, but deep divisions remain over how to manage the current price increases amid anxieties that Europe could face a double whammy of inflation and recession.

On Monday, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres warned that intense focus on quickly replacing Russian oil could mean that major economies “neglect or kneecap policies to cut fossil fuel use.”

price of palladium, used in automotive exhaust systems and mobile phones, has been soaring amid fears that Russia, the world’s largest exporter of the metal, could be cut off from global markets. The price of nickel, another key Russian export, has also been rising.

Mr. Rasmussen and other executives added that identifying suitable areas for wind turbines and obtaining permits required for construction take “far too long.” Challenges are based on worries that the vast arrays of turbines will interfere with fishing, obstruct naval exercises and blight views from summer houses.

To Kadri Simson, Europe’s commissioner for energy, renewable energy projects should be treated as an “overriding public interest,” and Europe should consider changing laws to facilitate them.

“We cannot talk about a renewables revolution if getting a permit for a wind farm takes seven years,” Ms. Simson said.

Still, environmental regulations and other rules relating to large infrastructure installations are usually the province of countries rather than European Union officials in Brussels.

And steadfast opposition from communities and industries invested in fossil fuels make it hard for political leaders to fast-track energy transition policies.

In Upper Silesia, Poland’s coal basin, bright yellow buses display signs that boast they run on 100 percent electric, courtesy of a grant from the European Union. But along the road, large billboards mounted before the invasion of Ukraine by state-owned utilities — erroneously — blame Brussels for 60 percent of the rise in energy prices.

Down in the Wujek coal mine, veterans worry if their jobs will last long enough for them to log the 25 years needed to retire with a lifelong pension. Closing mines not only threatens to devastate the economy, several miners said, but also a way of life built on generations of coal mining.

“Pushing through the climate policy forcefully may lead to a drastic decrease in the standard of living here,” said Mr. Kolorz at Solidarity’s headquarters in Katowice. “And when people do not have something to put on the plate, they can turn to extreme populism.”

Climate pressures are pushing at least some governments to consider steps they might not have before.

German officials have determined that it is too costly to keep the country’s last three remaining nuclear power generators online past the end of the year. But the quest for energy with lower emissions is leading to a revival of nuclear energy elsewhere.

Britain and France say they plan to invest in smaller nuclear reactors that can be produced in larger numbers to bring down costs.

Britain might even build a series of small nuclear fusion reactors, a promising but still unproven technology. Ian Chapman, chief executive of the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority, said every route to clean energy must be tried if there is to be any hope of reaching net zero emissions in three decades, the deadline for avoiding catastrophic climate change. “We’ve got to do everything we possibly can,” he said.

In the short term, much of what the European Union is proposing involves switching the source of fossil fuels, and, in particular, natural gas, from Russia to other suppliers like the United States, Qatar and Azerbaijan, and filling up storage facilities as a buffer. The risk is that Europe’s actions will further raise prices, which are already about five times higher than a year ago, in a market where supplies are short in part because companies are wary of investing in a fuel that the world ultimately wants to phase out.

Over the longer term, Europe and Britain seem likely to accelerate their world-leading rollout in renewable energy and other efforts to cut emissions despite the enormous costs and intense disruptions.

“The E.U. will almost certainly throw hundreds of billions of euros at this,” said Henning Gloystein, a director for energy and climate at Eurasia Group, a political risk firm. “Once the trains have left the station, they can’t be reversed.”

Melissa Eddy contributed reporting.

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Ukraine Live Updates: U.S. to Send More Arms to Kyiv as Russia Flattens Parts of Cities

LVIV, Ukraine — Russian forces stepped up their campaign of bombardments aimed at devastating Ukraine’s cities and towns on Saturday, as the White House announced it was sending an additional $200 million in arms and equipment to help Ukraine, defying Moscow.

Soldiers fought street-by-street battles in a leafy suburb of Kyiv, the nation’s capital, and some residents wept as they dragged belongings across a destroyed bridge, trying to escape the violence. Russian forces detained the mayor of a captured city, an act that prompted hundreds of outraged residents to pour into the streets in protest.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine accused Moscow of terrorizing the country in an attempt to break the will of the people. “A war of annihilation,” he called it.

He said an estimated 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the war, the first time the government had offered the number of its own soldiers killed.

Mr. Zelensky denounced what he called the kidnapping of the mayor — who had refused to cooperate with Russian troops after they seized his city — as “a new stage of terror, when they are trying to physically eliminate representatives of the legitimate local Ukrainian authorities.”

Russian forces have not achieved a major military victory since the first days of the invasion more than two weeks ago, and the assaults reinforced Moscow’s strategic turn toward increasingly indiscriminate shelling of civilian targets.

The American announcement of more arms for Ukraine’s military, including missiles for taking out warplanes and tanks, came just hours after Russia warned that convoys used for the “thoughtless transfer” of weapons to Ukraine would be “legitimate targets” for Russian forces.

Unable to mount a quick takeover of the country by air, land and sea, Russian troops have deployed missiles, rockets and bombs to destroy apartment buildings, schools, factories and hospitals, increasing civilian carnage and suffering, and leading more than 2.5 million people to flee the country.

Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

The suffering has been particularly devastating in the besieged city of Mariupol, which is experiencing “the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet,” according to Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba.

At least 1,582 civilians have died since the Russian siege of Mariupol began 12 days ago, he said, and residents are struggling to survive and have been forced to bury the dead in mass graves.

“There is no drinking water and any medication for more than one week, maybe even 10 days,” a staff member who works for Doctors Without Borders in Mariupol said in an audio recording released by the organization on Saturday.

“We saw people who died because of lack of medication, and there are a lot of such people inside Mariupol,” the staff member said.

During a 90-minute call with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany and President Emmanuel Macron of France urged Mr. Putin to accept an immediate cease-fire, according to the French government, which described the talks as “frank” and “difficult.”

France said that Mr. Putin showed no willingness to stop the war, and said he “placed the responsibility for the conflict on Ukraine” and sounded “determined to attain his objectives.”

Credit…Maciek Nabrdalik for The New York Times

In its summary of the call, the Kremlin said Mr. Putin had discussed “several matters relating to agreements being drafted to meet the well-known Russian demands,” but did not specify those demands.

In the coming weeks, NATO, which has vowed to defend allied countries from any incursion by Russian forces, plans to gather 30,000 troops from 25 countries in Europe and North America in Norway to conduct live-fire drills and other cold-weather military exercises.

The exercises, which Norway hosts biannually, were announced more than eight months ago, NATO said, and are not linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which NATO said it was responding to with “preventive, proportionate and non-escalatory measures.”

But the training has taken on greater significance as Russia steps up its bombardment of Ukrainian population centers.

Around Kyiv, the capital, Russian forces have advanced into the suburbs but have been slowed by Ukrainian troops that have counterattacked with ambushes on armored columns. On Saturday, artillery fire intensified around Kyiv, with a low rumble heard in most parts of the city.

By Saturday, there were no indications of further efforts by the Russian army to move armored columns closer to the capital. Instead, soldiers appeared to be fighting for control of the towns along the highways that encircle it.

In Irpin, about three miles from Kyiv city limits, Ukrainian and Russian soldiers were fighting a street-by-street battle on Saturday, turning what was a quiet suburb just two weeks ago into a suburban battleground.

Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

“We are trying to push them back but we don’t control the town,” said Vitaly, a Ukrainian soldier who asked that his last name not be published for security reasons.

He had taken up a position outside what would once have been an unlikely spot for combat: a gas station mini-market, its windows blown out by shelling, on the city’s western edge. Irpin is his hometown, and he joined the volunteer forces called the Territorial Defense Forces to try to protect it just two weeks ago.

He described Irpin’s Unity Street as Ukrainian-controlled; Central Street as a no-man’s land, exposed to both Ukrainian and Russian forces; and University Street as taken by Russian forces.

But the situation was fluid. Ukrainian soldiers had a “little island” around a shopping center near the city center, he said, but otherwise it wasn’t always clear who was where.

In the southern city of Mykolaiv, residents awoke on Saturday morning to the sounds of a fierce battle hours after Russian shells hit several civilian areas, damaging a cancer hospital and sending residents fleeing into bomb shelters.

The early-morning fight was concentrated in the north of the city, said Col. Sviatoslav Stetsenko of the Ukrainian Army’s 59th Brigade, who was stationed near the front lines.

“They are changing their tactics,” Vitaliy Kim, the governor of the Mykolaiv region, said. “They are deploying in the villages and lodging in village schools and homes. We cannot shoot back. There are no rules now. We will have to be more brutal with them.”

For nearly two weeks, Russian forces have been trying to surround Mykolaiv and cross the Southern Buh River, which flows through the city and is a natural defense against a Russian push toward the west and Odessa, the Black Sea port that appears to be a prime Russian objective.

Russian forces had not crossed the river as of Saturday morning, Colonel Stetsenko said, but “they are continuing to shell Mykolaiv.”

Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

In Melitopol, Russian troops on Friday forced a hood over the mayor’s head and dragged him from a government building, according to Ukrainian officials, prompting hundreds of residents to demonstrate in the streets.

“Return the mayor!” the protesters shouted, according to witnesses and videos. “Free the mayor!”

But nearly as soon as the demonstrators gathered, Russian military personnel moved to shut them down, arresting a woman who they said had organized the protest, according to two witnesses and the woman’s Facebook account.

The episode was part of what Ukrainian officials said was an escalating pattern of intimidation and repression. It also illustrated a problem that Russia is likely to face even if it manages to pummel cities and towns into submission: In at least some of the few cities and towns that Russia has managed to seize — mostly in the south and east — they are facing popular unrest and revolt.

Mr. Zelensky sought to tap into public rage in an address to the nation overnight.

Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

“The whole country saw that Melitopol did not surrender to the invaders,” he said. “Just as Kherson, Berdyansk and other cities where Russian troops managed to enter didn’t.” He said that popular resistance “will not be changed by putting pressure on mayors or kidnapping mayors.”

Melitopol’s mayor, Ivan Fyodorov, had remained stubbornly defiant even after Russian soldiers took over the city after a fierce assault on the first day of the invasion. “We are not cooperating with the Russians in any way,” he had said.

Last weekend, with Mr. Fyodorov’s encouragement, people waving Ukrainian flags took to the streets of Melitopol and other occupied cities. For the most part, Russian soldiers stood aside, even as protesters commandeered a Russian armored vehicle in one town and drove it through the streets.

Credit…Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press

While the protests in Melitopol were quickly put down, the Ukrainian government renewed efforts to bring aid to Mariupol, dispatching dozens of buses with food and medicine, Ukrainian officials said.

Similar relief efforts had failed in recent days as fighting raged around the city and land mines pocked roads in the area. In an overnight address, Mr. Zelensky said that the inability to bring aid to the city showed that Russian troops “continue to torture our people, our Mariupol residents.”

Still, he said, “We will try again.”

Marc Santora reported from Lviv, Ukraine, Michael Schwirtz from Mykolaiv, Ukraine, and Michael Levenson from New York. Reporting was contributed by Andrew E. Kramer in Kyiv, Ukraine; Eric Schmitt in Washington; Ivan Nechepurenko in Istanbul; Norimitsu Onishi in Paris; and Julie Turkewitz in Bogotá, Colombia.

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Ukraine Live Updates: Putin Says Russia Is Partially Pulling Back Troops

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President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he intended to continue talks with the West and that Russia would pull some of its troops from Ukraine’s border. U.S. officials said they were still evaluating Russia’s troop movements.CreditCredit…Pool photo by Sergey Guneev

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin said Tuesday that Russia had decided “to partially pull back troops,” and the Russian Defense Ministry announced that some forces from military districts bordering Ukraine were being sent back to their garrisons, a sign that Moscow might be stepping away from the threat of an invasion.

The announcement was the strongest signal yet that Russia might be trying to de-escalate the military standoff near the Ukrainian border, but it was far from clear that the threat of war has passed. Military analysts warned that it was too early to make firm conclusions about any troop drawdown without more information.

President Biden is expected to address the situation in Ukraine on Tuesday afternoon from the East Room of the White House. Aides said in a statement that Mr. Biden would repeat the U.S. commitment to what they called “high-level diplomacy.” The president believes that “diplomacy and de-escalation are the best path forward, but is prepared for every scenario,” the statement said.

Earlier in the day, speaking at the Kremlin alongside Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, Mr. Putin said Russia would keep pushing for its central demands of a rollback of the NATO presence in Eastern Europe and a guarantee that Ukraine never join the alliance.

“We are also ready to continue on the negotiating track, but all these questions, as has been said before, must be viewed comprehensively,” Mr. Putin said.

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Russia’s Defense Ministry said that some troops were sent back to their home bases, but that large-scale military drills would continue. U.S. officials said they were still assessing Russia’s troop announcement.CreditCredit…Sergey Pivovarov/Reuters

It could not be determined how many troops were being pulled back, and a Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said that some military exercises that have raised fears of an attack against Ukraine — including in Belarus and in the Black Sea — would continue.

U.S. officials said they were still assessing Russia’s troop announcement, and the NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said that members of the alliance “have not seen any sign of de-escalation.” Russia has moved forces around before while leaving heavy weapons in place, Mr. Stoltenberg noted.

Still, Mr. Putin’s comments added to signs that Moscow is willing to pursue its objectives through negotiation, rather than launch immediate military action. When asked about how Russia would act next, Mr. Putin responded with a slight smile: “According to the plan.”

But the outcome, he said, “does not only depend on us.”

“We intend to and will strive to reach agreement with our partners on the questions that we posed, in order to solve them by taking a diplomatic path,” Mr. Putin said.

Moscow added some leverage to any talks when lawmakers in the Kremlin-backed lower house of Parliament asked Mr. Putin on Tuesday to recognize breakaway states in eastern Ukraine as independent. That raised fears that Russia could use such recognition to move more of its military into the areas.

Mr. Putin indicated at the news conference that he would not immediately recognize their independence.

A day earlier, Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu spoke of Russia’s enormous troop buildup around Ukraine as being part of “large-scale drills.” He told Mr. Putin in a stage-managed meeting broadcast on state television that some of those drills were now ending.

Then on Tuesday, a military statement said some troops of the southern and western military districts had “completed their tasks” and were heading back to their bases. Russian state television aired footage of tanks being loaded onto rail cars, describing it as images of troops headed back to their garrisons.

The troops described as being pulled back are from the military districts closest to Ukraine, meaning they would remain relatively close to the country even if they are pulled back to their bases. The statement indicated that troops that have arrived in the region from farther away — Siberia and Russia’s Far East — would remain deployed near Ukraine for now.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said that there was reason to be skeptical of Moscow’s statements. “When we see the withdrawal, we will believe in de-escalation,” he told reporters during a video briefing from Kyiv.

But Russia continued to shift away from its more pessimistic official rhetoric of recent weeks.

Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov said that in the ongoing talks, the West had “responded positively to initiatives that it had for a long time rejected.”

“I think that, thanks to efforts in all these areas, it will be possible to come up with a very decent, comprehensive package result,” Mr. Lavrov said.

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Ukraine Live Updates: Kremlin Says Talks Are ‘Far From Exhausted,’ as Russian Buildup Continues

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President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine emphasized his country’s desire to join NATO, an aspiration fixed in Ukraine’s Constitution, but did not rule out the possibility of dropping its bid to for membership.CreditCredit…Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA, via Shutterstock

KYIV, Ukraine — For Ukraine, joining the NATO security alliance is an aspiration enshrined in its constitution. And although Western leaders say membership is at best a distant prospect at best, Russia regards even the possibility as an existential threat.

That dispute is at the core of Russia’s menacing military buildup surrounding Ukraine. The United States and NATO have said that the decision to seek membership should be up to individual countries, and in public Ukrainian officials have insisted that there is no change in their position.

But on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine did not rule out the possibility of dropping his country’s bid to join NATO, saying: “Maybe the question of open doors is for us like a dream.”

While emphasizing that NATO membership “is for our security and it is in the constitution,” Mr. Zelensky, speaking at a news conference alongside Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, acknowledged the difficult place the country finds itself in, nearly completely encircled by Russian or Russian-backed forces, and with partners like the United States insisting it will not send troops into Ukraine to repel a Russian invasion.

“How much should Ukraine go on that path?” Mr. Zelensky said of NATO membership. “Who will support us?”

Mr. Zelensky was responding to a question about comments made by Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s ambassador to Britain, who told BBC radio on Sunday that his government was “flexible in trying to find the best way out” and was considering dropping the country’s NATO ambitions.

Since December, the Ukrainian government has been quietly pursuing negotiations that could lead to acceptance of some form of neutrality, or another solution more narrowly focused on Russian demands in a cease-fire agreement in the long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine.

In public, officials including the current foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, have rejected concessions as counterproductive and likely only to encourage further Russian aggression.

Mr. Prystaiko, a former foreign minister who served under President Zelensky, was asked in the BBC interview: “If it averts war, will your country contemplate not joining NATO, dropping that as a goal?”

He replied: “We might, especially being threatened like that, blackmailed like that, and pushed to it.”

While emphasizing that even commenting on the possibility could be seen as violating Ukrainian laws, he went on: “What I’m saying here, is we are flexible in trying to find the best way out. If we have to go through some serious concessions, that’s something we might do, that is for sure.”

His comments caused a stir, and the Ukrainian government quickly sought to clarify the matter. The spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign ministry, Oleh Nikolenko, tweeted that Mr. Prystaiko’s comments had been reported out of context. “Ukraine’s position remains unchanged,” he said. “The goal of NATO membership is enshrined in the constitution.”

Mr. Prystaiko later emphaisized in an interview with Yevropaiska Pravda, a Ukrainian news outlet, that “there are no changes now” to the country’s stance. But because Ukraine is not a member of the alliance, he said, in the current standoff with Russia “we cannot count on NATO because we are not a member of the family.”

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, welcomed the ambassador’s comments while acknowledging the response from the Ukrainian foreign ministry.

“Clearly, Ukraine’s confirmed rejection of the idea of joining NATO would be a step that would significantly facilitate the formulation of a better response to Russia’s concerns,” Mr. Peskov said on Monday. But given the confusion around the comments, he added: “We cannot interpret it as a fact that Kyiv’s conceptual worldview has changed.”

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Germany’s Vaccine Mandate Forges Unlikely Coalition of Protestors

NUREMBERG, Germany — Maria Liebermann came wrapped in fairy lights and waved a peace flag featuring a white dove. Martin Schmidt carried a Germany flag with the word RESIST scrawled across it in capital letters.

She is a self-described “eco-leftist.” He votes for the far-right Alternative for Germany. They disagree on everything from immigration to climate change, but on a recent Monday they marched side by side against the prospect of a general Covid vaccine mandate, shouting “Freedom!”

At the start of the pandemic, Germany was widely lauded as a model of unity in combating the coronavirus. A general trust in government encouraged citizens to comply with lockdowns, mask guidance and social distancing restrictions.

But that confidence in the authorities has steadily waned as the pandemic enters its third year and the fight has shifted toward vaccines, exposing deep rifts in German society and setting back efforts to combat Covid cases.

death threats from vaccine opponents in recent weeks.

In western Germany, the picture is more complicated.

A well-established tradition of homeopathy and natural cures has meant that a certain distrust of science and medicine has long been widely accepted in Germany’s middle class. Homeopathic doctors are commonplace, their services reimbursed by public health insurers. Germany’s new age esoteric industry — books, crystals, courses and the like — brings in an estimated 20 billion euros in revenue a year. Bavaria has the highest number of certified healers in the country.

unlikely coalition of protesters that includes naturalists, neo-Nazis and ordinary citizens alike. In China, authorities said that the 13 million residents in Xi’an will be allowed to travel in and out of the city, ending a 32-day lockdown.

Sophia, a 22-year-old who described herself as an “energetic healer,” and who was chatting to friends about an hour before the Nuremberg march, lamented the lack of opposition coming from parties on the left like the Greens that had traditionally challenged the status quo.

“Now they’re all backing the vaccine mandate,” she said. In the recent German election, Sophia, who declined to give her last name, supported the Basis party, a newly founded anti-vax party that garnered less than 3 percent of the vote.

Sophia comes from a family of doctors, and both her parents and her older brother got fully vaccinated and have urged her to do the same. But she is concerned that the vaccine was developed too fast, and doesn’t trust the government to disclose any serious side effects.

“My body is telling me that this is not a good idea,” she said. “I have a pretty good connection to my body.”

Her friends concurred. “It’s not about keeping us healthy, it’s about giving us all a QR code,” said Stefan, a 35-year-old father of five who advocates civil disobedience and also did not want his full name used. “They rule with fear. It’s a kind of tyranny.”

“Mainstream science is a religion,” he added.

Distrust in “mainstream science,” and mainstream politics, is one thing esoterics and the far right can agree on, said Mr. Grande of the WZB.

“The common denominator is distrust,” he said. “What unites these two very different groups is an alienation from traditional parties, from science, from media.”

Mr. Grande said the high levels of trust in government shown by Germans early in the pandemic, when nine in 10 backed the coronavirus restrictions, began to erode after the first lockdown as weariness with the pandemic set in.

The danger now, Mr. Grande said, is that the weekly contact with the far right on the streets normalizes that group for those who belong to what he calls “the distrustful center.” Both camps share a belief in conspiracy theories, which have the power to radicalize the movement beyond the fringes.

The vaccine mandate, which will be debated in parliament at the end of the month, is the decisive driver of the protests. “The debate about vaccine mandate is oil into the fire of the radicalization,” Mr. Grande said.

“I fear we have a difficult political phase ahead of us in this pandemic,” he said.

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