16:51 GMT19 September 2020
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    Germany's foreign minister voiced Berlin's concern over Washington's plans to increase military spending as well as Moscow's armed forces in the Baltic Region.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Germany is concerned over Russia’s "great military potential" in the Baltic region, as well as over the increase in the US defense spending, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Thursday.

    "In my point of view we are concerned because in having certain discussions with both sides, we have great potential of the Russian Armed Forces in the Baltic states, in Poland, or a serious increase in the US defense budget, that we are coming close to the danger of another arms race," Gabriel told a press conference.

    Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning
    © Photo : Wikipedia/Voice of America
    Gabriel is paying a two-day working visit to Moscow to discuss bilateral relations, as well as the situation in Syria and Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will host Gabriel and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later in the day to get briefed on their talks.

    Earlier in the day, during the meeting with Lavrov Gabriel stated that it was "still a little early" to discuss the specific ways of preventing a new arms race in Europe.

    On February 27, the US Office of Management and Budget announced that Donald Trump’s budget proposal would boost military and security spending by $54 billion with a corresponding reduction in all other discretionary spending.

    Moscow will not to be drawn into an arms race but will take sufficient measures to strengthen its national security, the speaker of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's parliament, said in response.

    NATO has been significantly increasing its presence in Eastern Europe after the eruption of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014 using alleged Russian interference in the Ukrainian internal affairs as a pretext, a claim Russia has repeatedly denied.

    Moscow has repeatedly voiced its protests against the NATO military buildup saying that will undermine regional stability and result in a new arms race.


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