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    Soldiers of the US Army 2nd Cavalry Regiment deployed in Estonia as a part of the US military's Operation Atlantic Resolve, arrive during the Dragoon Ride exercise in Liepupe March 22, 2015. Operation Atlantic Resolve is aimed at demonstrating commitment to NATO allies in light of Russia's aggression in Ukraine, according to the US Army.

    NATO 'Far Too Often Acts as an Offensive Alliance' Toward Russia

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    In an exclusive interview with Sputnik Germany, head of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party Frauke Petry talked about her stance toward NATO and plans to improve relations with Russia.

    According to the politician, her party advocates active NATO membership, on the one hand, and cooperation with Russia, on the other. In an interview with Sputnik Germany, she explained that it is important for Germany to maintain balance between the East and the West.

    "We have had a very controversial debate on NATO. There are a lot of NATO critics among us," Petry said. "It far too often acts as an offensive alliance, especially in relations with Russia."

    Nevertheless, the politician stated that it is important that Germany stays in the alliance as it fulfils a very important defense function for the whole of Europe. On the other hand, Germany should maintain friendly relations and enhance cooperation with Moscow, Petry argued.

    "If we look back into history and take into account previous experience, then we must say that Europe and Germany had always been doing well when we had a reasonable relationship with Russia. We expect the new United States, under Donald Trump, to abandon its hegemonic claims in Europe, and work together so that we can interact with Russia on equal terms," the politician said.

    Earlier, the politician repeatedly promised to make every effort to convince Berlin to strengthen ties with Russia.

    Since 2014, relations between Russia and the West deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine. The United States, the European Union and their allies have introduced several rounds of anti-Russian sanctions since Crimea became part of Russia in 2014 and over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.

    Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations, warning that the Western sanctions are counterproductive and undermine global stability.

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    NATO, Russia, Europe, Germany
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