NATO chief: Better ties with Russia possible

NATO chief: Better ties with Russia possible

Wed Oct 1, 2014 6:50PM GMT

NATO plans to build a constructive relationship with Russia and does not seek a confrontation with Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine, the new NATO chief says.

“We have to see that Russia changes its behavior and its actions…. But we still aspire, as we have done for many years, for a constructive and a cooperative relationship with Russia,” new NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels on Wednesday.

The NATO chief also responded to a possible Russia-NATO Council by saying that the alliance is ready to consider the proposal if it gets such a request.

“There is no contradiction between strong NATO and our continuing efforts to build constructive relationship with Russia,” Stoltenberg said.

His comments followed remarks by Russian deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov in which he said that Moscow may consider organizing a Russia-NATO Council once the new secretary general takes office.

Relations between the West and Russia have fallen to their lowest level since the Cold War over the crisis in Ukraine.

NATO has blamed Russia of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs, including accusations that Moscow has sent troops to Ukraine.

However, none of these statements were supported with any evidence.

The military alliance ended all practical cooperation with Russia over Ukraine on April 1.

Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Russians in mid-April.

Violence intensified in May after the two flashpoint regions of Donetsk and Lugansk held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.

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