New German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht on Sunday called for tougher sanctions against Russia, which has deployed tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine, France Presse and Reuters reported.
Those responsible for the aggression must bear “personal consequences,” Lambrecht told Bild am Sonntag, adding that Germany and its allies “are targeting” Russian President Vladimir Putin and his entourage.
“We must exhaust all possibilities of diplomatic and economic sanctions. Every further step must be taken in agreement with our allies, “the German Social Democrat politician continued.
Christine Lambrecht began her first foreign visit on Sunday with a trip to Lithuania, where she inspected the German military units present at the Rukla base.
“NATO will discuss Russia’s security proposals, but will not allow Moscow to dictate the Alliance’s military position,” the German defense minister said during the visit.
After concentrating nearly 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine, Russia on Friday put forward proposals to reduce the role of the United States and NATO in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, calling for urgent negotiations with Washington.
Russia wants NATO to guarantee that the organization will not expand to the east and will not include Ukraine, a condition already rejected by the West, which has threatened Moscow with harsh sanctions if Russian troops enter Ukraine.
“We need to resolve the current tensions at the diplomatic level, but also by increasing credible deterrence,” Christine Lambrecht insisted.
About 550 German soldiers are deployed to Rukla military base in Lithuania, and Germany is leading the multinational battalion in the Baltic country.
Similar military units were sent to Estonia, Latvia and Poland in 2017 to deter a possible aggression by Russia, after it annexed Crimea in 2014 and later helped separatists in eastern Ukraine.