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    An infantryman, with the Grand Dutches Birute Uhlan Battalion, Lithuanian Armed Forces, patrols the woods for mock enemy troops during exercise Saber Strike, at a training area near Rukla, Lithuania June 15, 2015

    Almost Two-Thirds of Germans Oppose NATO 'Saber Rattling' Near Russia

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    With his critical statement about NATO military maneuvers near Russian borders, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier caused vivid debate among German residents, German newspaper FAZ wrote.

    Almost two thirds of Germans share criticism of Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) of NATO's "saber rattling" near Russian borders. In contrast, only nine percent support the German government's plans to deploy troops to the Baltic States to prevent alleged "Russia aggression," the newspaper wrote, referring to a survey conducted by the polling institute YouGov on behalf of the German Press Agency.

    Earlier, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier openly denounced NATO's Anaconda 2016 military drills on Russia's doorstep as "warmongering" and "saber-rattling" that could deteriorate the situation on the continent and worsen the EU's relations with Russia.

    According to the poll, 64 percent out of 2,054 respondents support this stance, while only 16 percent oppose it. At the same time, 49 percent consider Russia's military aggression against the Baltic States possible while 30 percent do not believe in such a scenario.

    Earlier, German authorities expressed their readiness to deploy Bundeswehr soldiers in Lithuania as part of NATO's mission aimed at "containing" possible Russian aggression. According to German magazine Der Spiegel, in this regard Berlin has been a subject to strong pressure from Washington.

    Wolfgang Ischinger, German diplomat and chairman of the Munich Security Conference, recommended NATO to avoid hard approach in dealing with Russia. In an interview with German media, he said NATO should adhere to a moderate approach.

    According to him, NATO‘s strategy may result in the "escalation" of the current security situation and "military hostilities". NATO should abandon its policy aimed "only at demonstrating military strength" and establish dialogue with Moscow, Ischinger said, cited by Der Spiegel magazine.


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