German minister warns Nato against ‘warmongering’

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 warned Nato against “warmongering”, as it conducts military exercises in Eastern Europe.

Mr Steinmeier said that extensive Nato manoeuvres launched this month were counterproductive to regional security and could inflame 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, adding that it would be “fatal to search only for military solutions and a policy of deterrence”.

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 the presence of Nato troops near its borders is a threat to its security.

A Nato spokesperson said the alliance had maintained dialogue in the Nato-Russia Council, although practical co-operation had been suspended, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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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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