German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Russia’s actions in Ukraine have eroded mutual trust with the West and unsettled NATO’s Eastern European member states.
"If through words and deeds the validity of [international] law and the inviolability of borders are questioned, then of course trust is lost," Merkel told the German parliament on July 7.
She made the comments ahead of the July 8-9 NATO summit in Warsaw, where Moscow’s actions in Eastern Europe will be high on agenda.
Relations between NATO and Russia have reached their lowest point since the Cold War over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and its role in the military conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Merkel said when NATO leaders meet in Warsaw, the Baltic states and Poland "need a clear reassurance by the alliance."
Merkel, however, said the West must keep dialogue open with Russia.
NATO and Russia have agreed to hold fresh talks on July 13 at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The NATO-Russia Council last met in April -- after a hiatus of almost two years -- but the talks ended in "profound disagreements" over Ukraine and other issues.
Based on reporting by AFP and AP