05:27 GMT +319 October 2019
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    A general view of the table for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at the level of defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels. File photo

    NATO Defense Budget Exceeds Russia's 10 Times, But West Continues Demonize Putin

    © AP Photo / Yves Herman
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    While relations between Russia and the West have significantly deteriorated over the last few years, Swiss political expert Dr. Daniele Ganser told Sputnik Germany that he doesn't understand why Western politicians accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of all possible sins.

    In an interview with Sputnik Germany, the expert stated that he "doesn't understand" the current criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his politics and stressed that such approach is counterproductive.

    "Geostrategists like George Friedman say that the Germans and the Russians should kill each other. They must be set against each other so that they lose as much blood as possible and are weakened, they say," the expert stated.

    "However, the split between Germany and Russia is beneficial only for the US. Germany should not surrender to American influence, but instead it should strive to create a friendly axis ‘Berlin-Moscow,'" he added.

    Ganser also recalled that the German reunification was only possible because the Soviet Union withdrew its troops from the territory of the GDR and for that Germany should be grateful to Russia, the expert argued. Moreover, he stated, that anti-Russian sanctions are completely counterproductive for the German economy and should be gradually lifted.

    Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated since 2014 amid the crisis in Ukraine. Brussels, Washington and their allies have introduced several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions since Crimea became part of Russia in 2014 and accused Moscow of its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.

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

    Ganser was also very skeptical, commenting on NATO's recent attempts to increase its presence near the Russian borders. He doesn't believe that the global problems in the 21st century can be solved by military means, what was especially evident in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

    The current budget of NATO stands at $900 billion a year and exceeds the Russian defense budget of $90 billion by ten times. According to the expert, Germany and other NATO members are following the wrong course, by trying to extract from their budget as much money as possible for military purposes.

    "This complex is constantly trying to extract as much money as possible. In my opinion, it is a pity that Mrs von der Leyen (German Minister of Defense) makes corresponding statements," Ganser concluded.

    Since 2014, NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, especially in Eastern European countries neighboring Russia, using Moscow's alleged interference in the Ukrainian conflict as a pretext.

    Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims, warning NATO that the military buildup on Russia's borders is provocative and threatens the existing strategic balance of power.

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    conflict, NATO, Russia, West
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