German Foreign Minister Criticizes NATO’s Military Maneuvers
in Eastern Europe Which Could Worsen Relations with Russia
June 19, 2016 (EIRNS) — In an interview published today in Bild am Sonntag, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has broken ranks and criticized the decision by NATO to stage military maneuvers in eastern Europe. He warned that these maneuvers could increase tensions with Russia. He added that "What we shouldn’t do now is to inflame the situation by loud saber-rattling and shrill war cries."
"Whoever believes that symbolic tank parades on the alliance’s eastern border will bring more security is mistaken. We are well-advised not to create pretexts to renew an old confrontation."
NATO has just completed a ten-day military training exercise in Poland, in which 20 NATO and allied countries were involved. The maneuvers included 30,000 troops. Germany participated.
This month, Bild am Sonntag reported plans for a new NATO force, in which the United States, Britain, and Germany would each command a battalion on Russia’s border beginning next year. This development has led Russian President Vladimir Putin to order checks on the combat readiness of Russian armed forces.
These developments have taken place merely weeks before a NATO summit in Warsaw, the three aforementioned powers reportedly indicated they would each command a battalion on NATO’s eastern flank to help deter any show of force against Poland or the Baltic states.
The proposed NATO battalions are part of a bigger military force that is to be approved at the July 8 Warsaw summit. This force is to include troops on rotation, stored military equipment, and a highly mobile force backed by NATO’s 40,000-strong rapid reaction unit, according to Bild am Sonntag.