Russia will not be characterized as a rival or adversary in a new edition of Germany’s White Paper, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday.
“My answer is clearly no,” the minister said, adding that Germany is dealing with a “challenge” rather than the terms used in mass media reports. “I believe it is important to translate this in a right way in all languages.”
Germany’s White Paper stipulates the government’s concept of developing armed forces and security policy. The current version of the document, approved in 2006, names Russia “a priority partner.” An update of the concept is expected this year.
The German newspaper Die Welt reported on Saturday that Russia has been mentioned among ten most serious threats for Germany in the updated version of the country’s security policy guidelines. Russia “is no longer a partner, it has become a rival,” the paper said.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday the Kremlin is concerned over an update of Germany’s security concept as its new position may lead to confrontation. “This can cause regret because if this is true, then the talk is about the obvious misunderstanding of the Russian side’s position, which is well-known, consistent and is aimed at creating the atmosphere of interaction and mutually advantageous cooperation on the European continent rather than at confrontation,” he said.