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A German military move on Ukraine .. a response to the “weakest link”

“We are ready to do whatever is necessary to strengthen” Germany’s presence in NATO operations in the Baltic states, Schulz said in an interview with the German ARD network.

Germany leads the alliance’s operation in Lithuania, where it has about 500 military personnel.

In response to a question about the possibility of agreeing on reinforcements at the meeting of defense ministers of NATO member states in mid-February, Schulich said: “We are ready to make a decision.”

In turn, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said earlier in an interview with the “Funk” media group that Germany is ready to strengthen its presence in Lithuania.

“In principle, the troops … are available for reinforcements, and we are now in talks with Lithuania to determine what would be useful,” Lambrecht said.

The pledge comes amid growing fears that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine, and the West accuses President Vladimir Putin of massing more than 100,000 military personnel on the border of the neighboring country.

Russia, for its part, denies it is planning an invasion, but is demanding broad security guarantees from the West, including not allowing Ukraine to join NATO.

Under increasing criticism over Germany’s seemingly contradictory stance during the crisis, Olaf Scholz is traveling to Washington for his first meeting since taking office with US President Joe Biden on Monday.

He also meets Baltic leaders in Berlin this week and travels to Ukraine and Russia later this month.

Schulich, who in December succeeded veteran Chancellor Angela Merkel, stressed on Sunday his country’s refusal to send weapons to Ukraine.

“For many years, the German government has had a clear orientation that we do not supply (weapons) to crisis areas, and that we also do not provide lethal weapons to Ukraine,” he said.

He added that the issue in the current crisis is related to “preventing the outbreak of war in Europe, and this is what I owe to the citizens of our country.”

He also reiterated that Germany is ready to freeze the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany if Moscow invades Ukraine.

And he added: “We have studied all the procedures and nothing is ruled out.”

When asked whether Washington considers Germany the “weakest link” in NATO, Schulz replied: “This is a wrong impression and it does not prevail in Washington.”

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