German caretaker defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer triggered strong reactions in Germany as well as in Russia after stressing in an interview for the German radio on Friday that Moscow should be aware of NATO’s readiness to make use of its nuclear deterrent in case of a Russian attack against any of its members, Euractiv reports.
According to the German minister, NATO’s deterrence doctrine means using any means the bloc may deem necessary to prevent Moscow from attacking NATO’s partners or allies and noted that nuclear weapons are the way of deterrence.
Reacting to her statement that he described as “irresponsible”, the head of the Social Democrats in the German parliament Rolf Mützenich, famous for his pacifist views, asked if Kramp-Karrenbauer also thought of the nuclear weapons still stored in Germany.
Mützenich, who regularly argues to exclude the stationing of US nuclear weapons on German soil, reminded that as a result of NATO nuclear sharing, there are about 20 various size nuclear bombs lying in wait on German soil at an airbase in Rhineland-Palatinate.
His remarks are especially noteworthy considering the fact that he is part of a six-person negotiation team as German parties strive to form governing coalition that would have to reposition itself on issues like Berlin’s position towards NATO, the nuclear sharing as well as Germany’s relationship with Russia.
Russian media reported on Tuesday that Russian Defence Ministry summoned the German defence attache over German Defense Minister’s statements and handed him a note.
The German defence attache was summoned for a meeting at the MoD’s Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation during which the attention was drawn to the statements of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on Russia’s nuclear deterrence.
According to the Russian MoD, statements like hers provoke increased tensions in Europe and do not contribute to the normalization of the situation.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reiterated earlier Moscow’s concerns over NATO’s push to amass troops near Russia’s borders warning that Berlin needs to know well how that ended for Germany and Europe in the past.
After Russia suspended earlier this month the operations of NATO’s information office in Moscow, along with the work of its own permanent mission to the bloc, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that it’s the alliance that should take first steps to improve the bilateral relations since Moscow never initiated the degradation of relations either with NATO, the EU, or with any Western country.