The German government should ban the transit of foreign troops and stop supporting upcoming international military exercises led by the US DEFENDER-Europe 20. This is stated in the appeal of the deputies of the Left Party, the text of which was reviewed by RT. Instead of taking steps to reduce tensions, the FRG authorities are supporting the movement of troops east and sending troops to military exercises in the Baltic states and Poland, parliamentarians point out. According to Russian analysts, the purpose of the maneuvers is to test their logistics and “demonstrate military power.”
Bundestag deputies from the Left Party prepared an appeal to the federal government of Germany, which called for the abandonment of “deployment of troops on the Russian border” as part of international exercises planned for March in Europe under the leadership of the United States and with the participation of NATO DEFENDER-Europe 20.
These maneuvers, as emphasized in the alliance, will be the largest in more than 25 years, the transfer of troops directly from US territory to the European continent – thus about 20 thousand troops will be sent. At the same time, the document, with the text of which was read by RT, indicates that a division of American heavy armored vehicles will be transported to Eastern European countries located directly on the border with Russia, and 37 thousand soldiers and 35 thousand will be transported eastward through Germany . military vehicles.
“The fact that NATO plays so irresponsibly with the military stability of Europe precisely on the days of the approaching 75th anniversary of the capture of Berlin by the Red Army and the victory over Nazi fascism is an insult to the Russian population and many people in other countries of the former Soviet Union, because it was their ancestors who brought they made the biggest sacrifice and made the greatest efforts to free Europe from fascism during the Second World War, ”the appeal says.
As the Left Party emphasizes, instead of learning something from this story and taking its own energetic steps towards mutual understanding, dialogue, easing tensions and creating a collective security system in Europe, to which Russia will join, the German government provides decisive support in the transfer of troops to the east and sends troops for military exercises to the Baltic states and Poland.
According to the deputies, the federal authorities and the Bundeswehr want to take the opportunity to finally “prove” the usefulness of Germany as a military logistics center. For the sake of demonstrating military power, the future of the remaining existing agreements on arms limitation and control in Europe is being called into question, the parliamentarians said in a statement.
In addition, the document emphasizes that since 2014, NATO has carried out four times more exercises on its eastern flank than the Russian Federation for its part.
As previously noted by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, the holding of DEFENDER-Europe 20 only contributes to worsening the situation in the field of military security.
“We do not welcome these teachings, these teachings are traces of the Cold War, the meaning of these teachings is absolutely clear to us. The main element will be the delivery of American forces reinforcements to the European continent in order to “confront” a comparable enemy. This has nothing to do with the real security situation in Europe, ”said Alexander Grushko.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in turn, noted that Russia would not leave these maneuvers without attention.
“In total, more than 40 thousand people participate in these exercises. Of course, we will respond. We cannot ignore processes that are of great concern. But we will react in such a way that it does not create unnecessary risks, ”Lavrov said.
According to the head of the Russian foreign ministry, the circles that initiate such unjustified exercises in Europe “want retaliation to follow, which will lead to further escalation of tension.”
“But an important aspect: everything that we undertake in response to the creation by NATO members of threats to Russia’s security, we do exclusively on our territory. As well as all Russian nuclear weapons are on our territory, unlike American ones, ”the diplomat added.
As retired military expert Colonel Viktor Litovkin noted in a conversation with RT, such large-scale exercises are connected not only with the desire to “play with muscles”.
“The United States is training the maneuverability of its troops, which is why these exercises are intended in the first place. However, of course, such a military maneuver is aimed at demonstrating that the Americans at the right time will “protect” Europe from supposedly insidious Russians and their aggression. Russia is not going to attack anyone. We must not forget that over the past 30 years, it was the USA and NATO that attacked everyone, starting from Yugoslavia and ending with Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and they don’t want to leave Syria, although no one called them there, ”the expert emphasized.
“Put an End” to Exercise Support
Bundestag deputies from the Left Party are convinced that the deployment of troops within the framework of DEFENDER-Europe 20 is harmful to the collective security system in Europe, violates the spirit of the fundamental Russia-NATO act, and also contradicts all efforts to ease tensions and build confidence.
“Therefore, the federal government must act to prohibit the transit of foreign troops under the 2 + 4 Treaty and put an end to all logistical support in accordance with the troop deployment agreement,” the statement says.
Recall that the 2 + 4 Agreement excludes the possibility of the presence in the eastern federal lands of foreign troops and nuclear weapons. This agreement, also known as the Final Settlement Treaty for Germany, was concluded in 1990 between the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as the USSR, France, Great Britain and the USA. One of the main points of the document was the guarantee of the full sovereignty of Germany over its internal and external affairs.
In turn, the deployment agreement means the Agreement on the Stay of Foreign Armed Forces in the Federal Republic of Germany of October 23, 1954, on the basis of which eight NATO states (Belgium, Denmark, France, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Great Britain and the United States) received the right to deployment of troops on a permanent basis in Germany. Deputies from the Left Party are urging to terminate it and ensure that all foreign troops leave the territory of the republic.
As Vladimir Olenchenko, a senior fellow at the Center for European Studies at IMEMO RAS, noted in an interview with RT, the Germans are showing quite natural concern.
“You can understand the fears of the Germans, in principle, like other countries, about the fact that military units of the United States are located on their territory, as well as on the territory of Poland and the Baltic States, considering these countries as a springboard for possible clashes with Russia,” he noted.
In their appeal, parliamentarians also point to the fact that the German federal government does not say anything about the total cost of DEFENDER-Europe 20 for the country.
Meanwhile, in November 2019, NATO agreed on a new formula for calculating contributions to the alliance’s total budget, according to which the United States will reduce its share, and Germany will increase it. A few months earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Germany to bring defense spending to 2% of GDP.
“The most difficult decision is in the hands of the German people. The government of Germany made a promise of 2% (for defense spending. – RT ), and people should demand that the government keep it. NATO is an extremely important tool in intimidating Russia, ”said Pompeo.
In turn, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the country’s authorities are determined to fulfill the obligation to NATO to increase defense spending. However, Berlin intends to reach only the level of 1.5% of GDP by 2024. As for 2%, they should be expected only by the beginning of the 2030s, German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized.
According to Vladimir Olenchenko, for Germany this will only become an additional financial burden.
In turn, an expert at the Center for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Konstantin Blokhin believes that the Left Party’s attitude once again demonstrates that there has come a deep crisis in relations between the USA and Germany.
“We see reluctance to participate in all of these teachings. We see Berlin’s position on Nord Stream 2, the reluctance to spend 2% on NATO is a mood that reflects a gradual, but purposeful change in the trajectory of Germany’s foreign policy. Germany does not want to participate in various American adventures and spend German money on this. These moods are reflected not only in political layers, but also in society, ”Blokhin emphasized in an interview with RT.
Against the background of all this, it is worth noting that in the last ten years, according to opinion polls, there has been a decrease in the level of approval of NATO by German citizens. So, according to the American research center Pew Research Center, if in 2009 73% of respondents favored the alliance in the Federal Republic of Germany, then in 2019 – 57%.
According to Olenchenko, a truly productive approach would not be the deployment of American and NATO troops, but the building of a collective security system in Europe with the participation of Russia, which the Bundestag deputies from the Left Party mention in their appeal.
According to Blokhin, for the Federal Republic of Germany it is short-sighted to rely only on the USA and NATO, a multi-vector policy would be more beneficial to it.
“When there is one guideline, there are always big restrictions on this. In terms of Germany’s benefits, it is necessary to diversify its cooperation, and Russia is just a good tool for such diversification, ”he concluded.