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    German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen (C) posing with mountain infantry soldiers of the mountain infantry brigade 23 after she watched an exercise near the Bavarian village Bad Reichenhall, southern Germany, on March 23, 2016

    German Defense Minister Urges Russia to Report on Troops Movement, Numbers

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    Russia-NATO Relations Reach a New Low (121)

    German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen called on Russia to report on the movements and the number of its troops, local media reported Sunday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Thursday, German Federal Foreign Office's coordinator for intersocietal cooperation with Russia, Asia and the Eastern Partnership countries said that a further escalation of tensions between NATO and Russia should be prevented.

    Earlier in June, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier blamed NATO member states for saber rattling, provoking much criticism from German politicians, including from the ruling Christian Democratic Union.

    "It would be wise if NATO and Russia would publicly reported on the movements and the number of its troops within the framework of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe]. Such a proposal has been made a long time ago by NATO, which is exclusively a defensive alliance," the minister said in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag.

    The German minister supported the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) strategy in response to the "Russian aggression."

    She noted that there is a need to improve the relations with Russia, but insisted that Moscow must adhere to international rules.

    "At least two sides are needed for dialogue," the minister added.

    Since 2014, NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, particularly in Eastern European countries bordering Russia, 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 on Russia’s borders is provocative.

    The bloc's members are set to discuss the Alliance's increasing activities on its eastern flank on July 8-9 at the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw.

    Russia-NATO Relations Reach a New Low (121)


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