Merkel Says Russia Has ‘Deeply Shaken’ NATO’s Eastern Members

  • German leader says eastern Europe needs military reassurance
  • Chancellor addreses parliament ahead of NATO summit in Poland

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Russia has “deeply unsettled” countries in eastern Europe, underscoring the need to strengthen NATO’s presence in the region.

Addressing parliament in Berlin a day before she’ll join fellow leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries in Warsaw, Merkel defended the alliance’s decision to deploy four battalions to rotate through the Baltic nations and Poland. At the same time, lasting security in Europe is only possible in cooperation with Russia and NATO still has an “outstretched hand” for dialogue, she said.

Merkel speaks on July 7.
Merkel speaks on July 7.
Photographer: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images

“Russia’s actions in the Ukraine crisis have deeply shaken our eastern allies,” Merkel said in her speech on Thursday. “That has deeply unsettled our alliance partners. They therefore require the unequivocal reassurance by the alliance.”

At the two-day meeting in the Polish capital, NATO’s 28 members plan to sign off on the troop deployment to bolster defenses in the east in a sign it’s committed to the defense of the former Soviet-bloc countries. In May, Russia announced the deployment of three new divisions in European Russia, citing NATO actions.

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