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Russia no longer partner, German official says

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German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen said Russia has disregarded international law in interfering in Ukraine. (Source: CBS) German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen said Russia has disregarded international law in interfering in Ukraine. (Source: CBS)

WASHINGTON, DC (CBS) - German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), who have seized large parts of northern Iraq over the past week, "have to be stopped as soon as possible."

Speaking at The Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank, Von der Leyen admitted it wouldn't be an easy task, but stressed the importance of finding a sustainable solution that would lead to long-term stability in Iraq and in the region.

Von der Leyen also criticized Russia's stance in the conflict with Ukraine.

"We cannot close our eyes to the fact that Russia is trampling, literally trampling, on international treaties, on principles of sovereignty, on territorial integrity," she said.

"It is certainly an attempt, and probably also the intent, of the Kremlin to re-impose rules that date back to the last century, rules that rely only on the law of the strongest, instead of the strength of international law," she added. "We will not accept that. I think these new rules Russia wants to impose are basically born out of weakness. It's the weakness of an economic and social model that is far less appealing than the so-called Transatlantic or Western one."

Von der Leyen said that Russia was no longer considered Germany's partner, but emphasized it should not become an opponent either.

"In my political lifetime, we will not be back to the point where we were with Russia a year ago. Russia is no partner any more, so we have to work on the fact that... or we have to work towards the direction that it does not turn into an opponent, but we cannot go back to business as usual," she said.

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