German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has criticised Nato military exercises in Eastern Europe, accusing the organisation of “warmongering”.
He said that extensive Nato manoeuvres launched this month were counterproductive to regional security and could enflame tensions with Russia and urged the Nato military alliance to replace the exercises with more dialogue and co-operation with Russia.
Nato launched a similar simulated Russian attack on Poland on 7 June.
The current two-week-long drill involves about 31,000 troops, including 14,000 from the US, 12,000 from Poland and 1,000 from the UK.
It will feature dozens of fighter jets and ships, along with 3,000 vehicles.
“What we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation further through sabre-rattling and warmongering,” Mr Steinmeier said in an interview to be published in Germany’s Bild am Sontag newspaper.
“Whoever believes that a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security, is mistaken.
“We are well-advised to not create pretexts to renew an old confrontation,” he said.
The exercises are intended to test Nato’s ability to respond to threats, and take place every two years.
But Russia has repeatedly said that Nato troops close to its borders are a threat to its security.