Tuesday, May 3 2016 01:41 EEST
NATO should respond to Russia with force and deterrence - Jens Stoltenberg
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The alliance should respond to Russia's actions with strong deterrents. This involves expansion of its military presence in the Baltics, Secretary General of NATO said.

In an interview with German weekly Die Welt and the alliance of European newspapers LENA (Leading European Newspaper Alliance) Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO should respond to Russia's actions with force and strong deterrents.

'Moscow has illegally annexed Crimea. It supports separatists in eastern Ukraine and violates international law. That’s why we are to extend our presence on the eastern borders of the alliance,' Stoltenberg said as cited by Die Welt on Sunday, May 1.

He noted that they were discussing the variant, according to which an international battalion can be sent to every Baltic state and Poland so that these forces can be put in a rotation mode. The final decision is to be taken before the summit of NATO members in Warsaw in July 2016.

These plans don’t violate NATO-Russia Founding Act, because it doesn’t include reinforcement of essential combat forces. According to Moscow’s definition, the term 'essential combat forces' means permanent presence of at least thousand soldiers in one of NATO’s states. 'We’re not a patch on this indicator,' Secretary General said.

"Russia won’t attack NATO"

According to him, there is no indication that Russia will attack any alliance’s member in the near future.

'However, we should be prepared; we should provide NATO members with full solidarity and carry out a policy of containment at the same time,' Stoltenberg says, describing these measures as 'justified, defensive and relevant to the international law.'

Secretary General of NATO stressed that NATO wasn’t looking for confrontation with Russia and wasn’t eager to have sort of the Cold War again. All the measures are a response to the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of eastern Ukraine. The bilateral approach is that NATO is following a determined, strong and predictable policy, Stoltenberg said. 

'We can accept a political dialogue with Russia only in this way,' he said. 'Mutual silence is not the best way to solve problems. Don’t stop the dialogue.'

Furthermore, the head of the alliance noted that the channels for political dialogue should be open in order to continue searching for ways to reduce tension and risks of military incidents. Stoltenberg didn’t rule out a possible meeting in the framework of the NATO-Russia Council before the summit in Warsaw.

The first (since 2014) consultations of the Council took place on April 20. They discussed the crisis in the east of Ukraine, Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula, security situation in Afghanistan. No definite decisions were made during the meeting.

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