Russian 'hybrid warfare' targeting German troops in NATO: Merkel
Iran Press TV
Sat Sep 15, 2018 08:55AM
Germany says it is boosting military cyber capabilities to respond to Russian "hybrid warfare" techniques, targeting "NATO forces deployed in Eastern Europe".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel accused Russia of targeting German troops in the US-led NATO military alliance with hybrid warfare, including cyber warfare, subversion and propaganda.
She was speaking to German troops deployed in Lithuania as part of forces in North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The West has repeatedly accused Russia of using "hybrid warfare" to undermine the alliance. Moscow denies the allegation, saying this is a strategy by the US-led alliance to provoke an arms race among its members.
"Here you are also confronted with a situation that represents another part of the Russian military doctrine: the idea of hybrid warfare," said the German Chancellor.
"Hybrid warfare is not something that we are very used to. You clearly experience this here in very specific ways," she added.
"It is not for nothing that we built in Germany a special cyber unit within the German military in order to build capabilities in this area," she told troops at their base in Rukla, northwest of the capital Vilnius.
Germany deployed troops, tanks and other equipment to Lithuania last year, as part of a NATO mission in Eastern Europe near Russia's border.
Over 500 German troops are deployed in Lithuania as part of a NATO mission to reassure eastern allies and deter Russia.
NATO, a 29-member military alliance, is dominated by the United States, has often held military maneuvers near Russia's western borders, stationing advanced military hardware. It has also been trying to co-opt more countries from near Russia.
The moves alarm Moscow, which takes its own measures to guarantee its security. Russia is holding week-long military maneuvers, which according to the country's Defense Ministry is the largest ever rehearsal since the fall of the Soviet Union.
The military drill, dubbed "Vostok-2018" (East-2018), started on Tuesday in Russia's Eastern Military District – a sparsely-populated area – close to its borders with China and Mongolia. It will run until September 17.
Almost 300,000 Russian troops, more than 1,000 planes, drones, and helicopters, and up to 36,000 armored vehicles took part in the drills.
Some 3,500 Chinese troops and a small contingent of Mongolian soldiers were also part of the military exercise that marked the start of stronger relations between the countries.
Pentagon said the US would watch the drills closely, calling them "strategic messaging" by both China and Russia.
NATO has also condemned the drills as a rehearsal for "large-scale conflict".
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