Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this article from Epoch Times:
Merkel calls development at the EU’s eastern external borders “worrying”
At her meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) emphasized the “worrying developments” in relations with Russia and at the EU’s external borders.
In view of the Russian troop deployment on the Ukrainian border and the refugee crisis on the Belarusian border with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, there is a “need for discussion,” said Merkel on Friday before she withdrew to talks with Stoltenberg.
During her tenure in office, she always “advocated a dialogue between NATO and Russia,” said Merkel. “Unfortunately, it has cooled down at the moment.” Nevertheless, “it is always better to talk to each other than not to speak.”
Putin accuses West of “escalating” the conflict in Ukraine
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of “escalating” through maneuvers in the Black Sea and arms deliveries to Kiev. Western fighter planes would only fly “20 kilometers from our border”, Putin criticized on Thursday at an event by the Russian Foreign Ministry, warning the West not to cross a “red line”. Ukraine had previously announced that it would buy more weapons from the West because of the threat from Russia.
“Our western partners are escalating the situation by supplying Kiev with deadly modern weapons and holding provocative military maneuvers in the Black Sea,” Putin said in his address.
The Russian President was apparently referring to recent exercises by US and other NATO military ships in the sea area. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby had rejected the criticism. “All of our exercises are defensive in nature and are consistent with our alliances and partnership commitments in the region,” he said.
For their part, the NATO partners and Ukraine have been accusing Russia for days of fueling tensions by deploying large numbers of troops on the Ukrainian border and possibly even preparing an invasion of Ukraine.
Stoltenberg also worried
Stoltenberg also expressed concern about the Russian troop deployment on the border with Ukraine. The NATO partners and Kiev accuse Russia of fueling tensions and possibly even preparing an invasion of Ukraine. The situation is being monitored and “political and practical support for Ukraine” is being provided by NATO, said Stoltenberg.
As early as March, Russia gathered thousands of soldiers, heavy military equipment, naval ships and air force aircraft near the Ukrainian border and in the region of the annexed Crimean peninsula in a massive deployment of troops. After weeks, Moscow finally declared the alleged maneuver over and withdrew its soldiers.
According to information from Kiev, Russia has again deployed 114,000 soldiers in eastern Ukraine. Around 32,000 troops are stationed on the annexed Crimean peninsula.
The Ukrainian army has been fighting pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. The West accuses Russia of providing military support to the separatists, which Moscow denies.
Stoltenberg also commented on the refugee crisis at the EU’s external borders with Belarus: He condemned the “inhuman” behavior of the Belarusian leadership that used “innocent people”.
Stoltenberg appealed to the future federal government that NATO will also need a “strong Germany” in the future. In a speech at an event organized by the German Atlantic Society and the Federal Academy for Security Policy, he had previously called on the upcoming cabinet to take a leading role in strengthening NATO. “Germany has a special responsibility to ensure that NATO remains strong,” he said. The only way to do this is to put more money into defense.
Ukraine warns migrants in Belarus not to cross the border
With clearly drastic words, Ukraine warned the migrants from the Middle East who were stranded in neighboring Belarus not to cross the border into their national territory. In the event of a threat to border guards and security forces, Ukraine would “use all means of defense”, including firearms, said Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky in parliament on Friday. Last week, Kiev announced the transfer of thousands of border guards and security forces to the Belarusian border.
Monastyrsky warned on Friday that the Kremlin might try to relocate the migration movement to the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. “We are preparing systematically and thoroughly for this situation,” said the interior minister. The situation on the border with Belarus is currently under control.