German defense minister: Russia doing everything possible to provoke NATO.

Russia has been doing everything possible in the past days and weeks to provoke Ukraine and NATO and thus open the way for further aggression, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has said.

She said this on the Morgenmagazin program on the ARD TV channel, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.

"It is clear that Putin's regime is waiting for a step by NATO to have a reason to continue to act. I have the impression that the Russian side is doing everything possible to provoke a reaction. [...] We together with Ukraine do not want to be involved in this game," Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

She emphasized Kyiv's balanced reaction in such a situation. "I am very grateful, first of all, to Ukraine for still reacting […] very, very sensibly. We in NATO will do the same," Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

She stressed that it was in the interests of Kyiv and its Western partners to prevent the further escalation of this conflict.

According to the minister, if Russia says that the massing of its troops on the border with Ukraine is only a military exercise, there are prescribed international procedures for ensuring transparency and trust. She said that it would be right to hold an OSCE meeting, but she recalled that Russia had rejected such an opportunity. "Such behavior does not create trust," Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

She said that Germany was "committed" to helping Ukraine, but when asked if Berlin was ready to help Kyiv with arms in the event of a hot conflict, she said that Germany, as a NATO member, was providing assistance to Ukraine in the training of the Ukrainian army's strike forces and in the sphere of military medicine, whereas other NATO countries were supporting Ukraine in other areas. "It's a matter of individual member states, rather than NATO as an alliance," she added.

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