NATO and Russia meet to talk about Baltic and Black Sea incidents
NATO and Russia met for high-level talks on Tuesday to discuss risk reduction and transparency. Both parties are hoping to avoid misunderstandings after a series of close shaves, the alliance said in a statement.
As NATO is working on its biggest build-up since the end of the Cold War to counter a more assertive Russia in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea, a string of incidents in the Baltic and Black Sea involving ships and planes has brought misunderstandings and much mutual criticism.
“As part of our continuing dialogue with Russia, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow met with Ambassador of the Russian Federation Alexander Grushko,” the alliance’s statement read.
NATO leaders had agreed at a summit in Warsaw in July to increase their presence in the Baltic states as well as Poland to reassure the former Soviet Union members and satellites rattled by Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula as well as its military intervention in other parts of Ukraine.
According to the statement published, Vershbow told Grushko that the alliance was ready to continue with mutual dialogue, but that there was no change otherwise in policy towards Russia.
“Our practical cooperation remains suspended following Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine,” Vershbow was quoted. “At the same time, we decided to keep channels of political dialogue open.”
The statement added that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg looked forward to discussing these issues and next steps with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the near future.