Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz next to Flotilla Admiral Thorsten Marx (l) and Frigate Captain Hendrik Wissler (r). © Kay Nietfeld/dpa
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) does not assume that the situation between NATO and Russia in the Baltic Sea will escalate through large-scale maneuvers taking place in parallel. "I don't have that fear," Scholz said on Monday during a visit to the frigate "Mecklenburg-Vorpommern" off the German Baltic Sea coast near Rostock. "It is handled very responsibly on the part of our forces."
Rostock - Scholz also said to Russia: "Of course, it is also a sign that we are sending here with the manoeuvre, the exercise - namely that we have the strength to organise alliance and national defence. And that's what is understood."
Earlier, the Russian Baltic Fleet announced that an exercise with 40 ships and 3500 soldiers had been launched. It takes place at the same time as the annual U.S.-led naval maneuver Baltops, in which 50 ships and boats from 19 NATO countries and Sweden take part - including the "Mecklenburg-Vorpommern".
For the first time, Scholz was shown the capabilities of the Navy from the frigate. He was "very impressed with the performance, with the hard work we have seen here," he said afterwards. He will do everything he can to ensure that the navy is well equipped. The Federal Chancellor reaffirmed his pledge to permanently spend two percent of gross domestic product on defence. Dpa