geopolitics-00246
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, chair of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), during a press conference in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Sohn-Michael Sohn)

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has claimed that “challenges are growing” for Europe over Russia’s behavior, she said in an interview with the media group RND on Saturday.

Germany should boost military spending in own interests, but not “as a favor for the United States,” the German defense minister said.

“Challenges are growing — with new technologies, in the form of hybrid threats, but also at the regional level, for example, taking into account the behavior of Russia,” she claimed.

“Germany is often in the focus of attacks that could be linked to Russia,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

She gave no examples or any evidence to support her point of view.

On March 22, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said that in relations with the European Union Russia stayed ready “for constructive and pragmatic interaction, but only on the basis of equality and mutual respect.” He pointed out that Moscow “will not go down the path of one-sided concessions or sacrifice our interests.” Grushko added that “the attempts to talk with Russia from the position of power and more sanctions are absolutely counterproductive.”

On March 25, Konstantin Gavrilov, the head of the Russian Delegation to the Vienna Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control, said that Europe had not yet taken any steps to respond to Russia’s initiatives aimed at strengthening military contacts. He pointed out that those contacts were needed “to reduce the risk of incidents, which is unpredictable.” According to Gavrilov, Russia continues efforts to build constructive dialogue with Western countries, but has seen no response from European counterparts yet.