NATO must do more to counter Putin’s ‘delusions of grandeur’ – German minister

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RUKLA, Lithuania, Oct 8 (Reuters) – NATO must do more to protect itself against Russia and President Vladimir Putin, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Saturday, because we “cannot know how far can go Putin’s delusions of grandeur”.

“One thing is certain: the current situation means that we have to do more together,” Lambrecht said during a visit to German troops deployed in Lithuania.

“The brutal Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is becoming more brutal and unscrupulous… The threat of nuclear weapons from Russia shows that the Russian authorities have no scruples.”

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The United States has repeatedly said it has seen no indication that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons despite what it calls Putin’s “nuclear chatter.”

Germany deployed its first troops to NATO member Lithuania, which borders Russia, in 2017 after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. He agreed to significantly step up the mission in June in response to Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Lambrecht on Friday inaugurated a permanent German command center in Lithuania, which it said would help move a brigade of troops from Germany to Lithuania in 10 days if needed.

A NATO brigade has between 3,000 and 5,000 troops, and Lambrecht said frequent drills in Lithuania would help quickly deploy troops if needed to join the 1,000 permanently detained in Lithuania.

“We stand with our allies,” Lambrecht said. “We heard the threats from Russia against Lithuania which applied European sanctions on the border with Kaliningrad. These are not the first threats and we must take them seriously and be prepared.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have called for their region to receive the largest buildup of combat-ready NATO forces in Europe since the end of the war. cold War.

But NATO countries were unwilling to commit permanent bases in the Baltics, as this would cost billions of dollars and be difficult to maintain. States might not have enough troops and armaments, and a permanent presence would be highly provocative for Moscow.

Instead, NATO chose to assign thousands of standby troops to countries further west like Germany as rapid reinforcements.

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Reporting by Andrius Sytas; Editing by Terje Solsvik, Nick Macfie and Mike Harrison

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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