11:17 GMT23 January 2021
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    The German foreign minister warned NATO on Thursday against backsliding into another confrontation with Russia, in an interview ahead of a NATO summit in Warsaw.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) —Leaders of the 28 NATO member nations are expected to approve enhanced military presence in Eastern Europe on the border with Russia. President Vladimir Putin said Russia would respond accordingly.

    "We must not backslide into a new, old confrontation," Frank-Walter Steinmeier told German newspaper, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.

    Days after the July 8-9 summit, Russia and NATO are scheduled to convene a council to discuss the results of the bloc’s landmark meeting.

    Steinmeier described NATO’s increased presence in the east and its dialogue with Moscow as "two sides of the same coin."

    "It is great that Moscow is ready to take on such an urgent issue as confidence-building in the Baltic Sea region and the East Ukraine conflict right after the Warsaw summit," he said.

    Steinmeier added NATO allies must take care not to distort their message to Russia and "ruin our efforts, which would mean less security for Europe, not more."

    Last month, Steinmeier slammed NATO's "saber-rattling" after it staged unprecedented war games in Poland, saying parading tanks on the Russian border undermined security in the region.


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