German minister criticises ‘warmongering’ Nato exercises

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks at a news conference after meeting with host Albanian counterpart Ditmir Bushati in the Albanian capital, Tirana, Tuesday, June 14, 2016.Image copyright

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Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned Nato against enflaming tensions with Russia

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has criticised Nato military exercises in Eastern Europe, accusing the organisation of “warmongering”.

Mr Steinmeier said that extensive Nato manoeuvres launched this month were counterproductive to regional security and could enflame tensions with Russia.

He urged the Nato military alliance to replace the exercises with more dialogue and co-operation with Russia.

Nato launched a simulated Russian attack on Poland on 7 June.

The two-week-long drill involves about 31,000 troops, including 14,000 from the US, 12,000 from Poland and 1,000 from the UK.

It will also feature dozens of fighter jets and ships, along with 3,000 vehicles.

“What we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation further through sabre-rattling and warmongering,” Mr Steinmeier said in an interview to be published in Germany’s Bild am Sontag newspaper.

“Whoever believes that a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security, is mistaken.

“We are well-advised to not create pretexts to renew an old confrontation,” he said.

The exercises are intended to test Nato’s ability to respond to threats, and take place every two years.

But Russia has repeatedly said that Nato troops close to its borders are a threat to its security.

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Troops from Poland, the US, 17 other Nato member nations and from five partner nations are taking part

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