The German foreign minister has broken ranks with NATO allies, accusing the alliance of “warmongering” against Russia.Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke out against recent NATO military exercises in Poland and the Baltics. “The one thing we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation with loud sabre-rattling and warmongering,” the minister told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
“Anyone who thinks a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security is wrong,” he said in excerpts released ahead of a longer interview to be published Sunday. “We would be well advised not to provide a pretext to renew an old confrontation.”
Steinmeier was speaking after NATO staged its largest war game in eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War earlier this month.
About 31,000 troops took part in Operation Anaconda, a 10-day exercise simulating a Russian attack on Poland.
The exercise was the first time German tanks had crossed Poland from west to east since the Second World War. Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, made it clear the exercise was directed against Russia. “The aim of the exercise is clear,” he said. “We are preparing for an attack.” Steinmeier’s mention of “sabre-rattling” was a clear reference to Operation Saber Strike, another exercise under way in the Baltic states.