Germany Calls for Dialog with Russia, also Urges ‘Deterrence’

Germany Calls for Dialog with Russia, also Urges ‘Deterrence’
Thu Jul 7, 2016 18:26:56

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the West should continue to engage in dialog with Russia despite tensions in relations over the Ukrainian crisis.

Speaking in the German parliament on Thursday, Merkel said dialog should, however, be coupled with “deterrence.”

“Deterrence and dialog, the clear commitment to solidarity with our alliance partners pursuant to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, and the outstretched hand of dialog — these are not contradictory, no they are indeed indivisible,” she said.

According to Article 5 of the NATO, if an “armed attack against one or more” of the member states of the military alliance is launched “in Europe or North America,” it “shall be considered an attack against them all,” and all members will have to take the necessary actions to assist the invaded ally.

NATO has stepped up its military buildup near Russia’s borders since it suspended all ties with Moscow in April 2014, when the then-Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula joined Russia following a referendum in March the same year.

The Ukrainian government later engaged in a military crackdown in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, where the ethnic Russian-speaking population had been staging pro-Russia demonstrations for some time.

NATO accuses Moscow of having a hand in the militancy in eastern Ukraine while the Kremlin strongly rejects the claim.

NATO also accuses Russia of massive militarization at the bloc’s eastern borders, saying the move is disturbing its allies in those regions, while Moscow says NATO is brandishing the so-called Russian threat to expand eastward and include countries in the Balkan region, saying the move directly harms Russia’s strategic interests in the Balkans.

A summit of NATO will convene in Warsaw on Friday to finalize plans for the biggest military buildup of the alliance since the Cold War. The alliance says the buildup will come in response to what it calls new security challenges from Russia.

In her Thursday remarks, Merkel — who maintains good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin compared to other Western leaders — also said that NATO has lost trust in Russia over Ukraine.

“If through words and deeds the validity of (international) law and the inviolability of borders are questioned, then of course trust is lost,” she said.

“Russia’s actions have deeply disturbed our eastern allies” and require a “clear reassurance” of their safety under NATO’s Article 5 on collective defense.

The military bloc recently launched its biggest-ever joint maneuvers in Poland to the west of Russia, a move that was immediately condemned by Russian authorities.

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