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Stoltenberg: NATO will not change its course towards Russia until Moscow makes concessions

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – NATO countries will not withdraw troops from Eastern Europe and will not remove sanctions against Russia until Moscow “changes its behavior” in foreign policy and “makes concessions,” Alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung.

At the same time, NATO “does not want a cold war” and strives for “a dialogue with Moscow,” since without this it is impossible to resolve disputes with the Kremlin, the politician stressed.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg calls on Germany to participate more actively in the alliance’s activities, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. “Other countries want Berlin to strengthen its key role. Because of the scale of its economy and its political significance,

Germany has a special responsibility, “the secretary general said. “After several years of decline in 2017, German defense spending grew by almost 6%,” Stoltenberg said, urging the German government to “continue this course.” “I’m counting on Germany. We live in an unstable world and face new dangers, and they should have answers,” the politician stressed.

Despite the difficulties, Stoltenberg praised Germany’s contribution to NATO military operations. “I met with German soldiers in many missions, for example in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Lithuania. These troops are well armed, the soldiers are well trained and highly professional, “the secretary general said. According to him, “it is important to continue to show Moscow that if Russia behaves as it does in the Crimea, it will carry out cyber attacks and violate international norms, this will have consequences.”

“We see a country that is heavily armed. We see a country that has attacked Ukraine and deployed its troops in Moldova and Georgia against the will of these countries. Moscow supports the Assad regime in Syria. We are registering cyberattacks, including the German government network. And this is not all that causes concern: Russia is modernizing its nuclear arsenal. The threshold of its use is getting higher, ” Stoltenberg continued.

By placing their troops on the NATO border and imposing sanctions, the alliance members gave “an appropriate defensive response . ” Refusal of this course will depend on “concessions from the Russian side.” “Until Russia changes its behavior, the troops will be where they are, and the sanctions will remain in force ,” the politician stressed.

At the same time, NATO seeks a “dialogue with Moscow.” “We do not want a cold war. As long as we can not conduct a dialogue with each other, we will not be able to resolve our disputes and improve our mutual understanding,” Stoltenberg summed up.