Russia cannot ‘dictate’ NATO military posture, Germany says – POLITICO

Germany’s new Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht mentioned Sunday that NATO allies have been keen to debate a raft of calls for put ahead by Russia, which has massed troops alongside the Ukrainian border, however wouldn’t permit Moscow to “dictate” to the alliance or its companions.

Lambrecht’s feedback got here throughout a go to to German troops stationed in Lithuania as a part of NATO’s ahead working presence — an initiative created to discourage Russian military aggression after the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Lithuanian Protection Minister Arvydas Anušauskas, who accompanied Lambrecht on the go to, rejected the demands issued by Russia on Friday, saying they have been meant to divide NATO allies. 

The calls for, put ahead by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ryabkov, embody the withdrawal of NATO’s ahead working battalions from Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and agency commitments that Ukraine and Georgia won’t ever be a part of NATO. 

“We’ve got to speak to one another, which suggests discussing the proposals that Russia has put ahead,” Lambrecht mentioned throughout the go to, “But it surely cannot be that Russia dictates to NATO companions how they place themselves, and that’s one thing that we’ll make very clear.”

Lithuania’s protection ministry tweeted later: “We should clarify that Russia has no proper to inform NATO members how they need to behave.” It mentioned that Anušauskas and Lambrecht “agreed that [Russia’s] calls for are unacceptable. The one goal of such calls for is to separate the unity of the alliance.” 

NATO Secretary-Basic Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly rejected Russia’s calls for that Ukraine and Georgia be excluded, saying Moscow has no proper to resolve who can be a part of the alliance.

“We assist the appropriate of all international locations to resolve their very own future and international coverage free from outdoors interference,” NATO said in a press release this week. “NATO’s relationship with Ukraine is a matter just for Ukraine and the 30 NATO Allies. We firmly reject any makes an attempt to divide Allied safety.”

In an interview with the newspaper Bild revealed Sunday, Lambrecht referred to as for sanctions towards Putin and his inside circle.

She mentioned NATO allies “have to make use of your entire set of devices that we’ve got. Proper now we’ve got to focus on Putin and people round him. These answerable for the aggression should really feel the non-public penalties.”

The U.S., and EU have threatened to impose “high-impact” sanctions on Russia within the occasion of “military escalation” towards Ukraine.

Ryabkov defended Russia’s calls for in an interview with Russian information company Interfax. He mentioned they didn’t represent an “ultimatum” however cautioned “the seriousness of our warning shouldn’t be underestimated.”

David MHerszenhorn contributed reporting.

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