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    Soldiers park their amphibious vehicles on a ship as they participate in a massive amphibious landing during NATO sea exercises BALTOPS 2015 that are to reassure the Baltic Sea region allies in the face of a resurgent Russia, in Ustka, Poland, Wednesday, June 17, 2015

    NATO 'Should Limit Its Military Presence in Eastern Europe to One Year'

    © AP Photo / Czarek Sokolowski
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    Just a few days before the NATO Summit in Warsaw, the co-chairman of the German-Russian Forum "Petersburg Dialogue," Ronald Pofalla, said that the planned deployment of NATO troops in Poland and the Baltic States should be limited in time, German media reported.

    According to Pofalla, the relations between NATO and Russia develop in a spiral manner. The expert was referring to the never-ending circle "of reactions, responses and new responses" that lead to further alienation between the two parties.

    In an interview with the magazine, Pofalla suggested NATO countries should "accompany their decision to strengthen the forces of the alliance in Poland and the Baltics by a number of conditions."

    "NATO could initially limit the term of its military buildup to one year. If the ceasefire in the east of Ukraine is implemented and a legally binding truce comes into force, the alliance could again weaken its military presence," the expert said.

    Since 2014, NATO has been building up its military presence in Eastern Europe, using Moscow's alleged interference in Ukraine as a pretext for the move. Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims and warned NATO that the military buildup near Russia's borders is provocative and threatens the existing strategic balance of power.

    In summer 2016, NATO initiated three large-scale exercises (BALTOPS, Anakonda and Saber Strike) in the Baltic region, held simultaneously in different parts of Baltic countries and conducted in spite of Russia's criticism.

    NATO's "saber rattling" near Russian borders has been repeatedly criticized by many European politicians and political experts, including German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and German diplomat and chairman of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger. According to them, NATO‘s strategy aimed at demonstrating its strength may deepen conflict between West and Russia and result in the "escalation" of the current security situation.

    Earlier, German authorities expressed their readiness to deploy Bundeswehr soldiers in Lithuania as part of NATO's mission aimed at "containing" possible Russian aggression, a move that had been criticized by almost two-thirds of the German population. According to German magazine Der Spiegel, in this regard Berlin has been a subject to strong pressure from Washington.


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    military buildup, NATO, Baltic Region, Germany, Russia
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