Will Russia-NATO tensions ease?

(VOVworld) – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will meet with Russia after NATO’s summit ends on July 9 in Warsaw, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday. This will be their first high-level meeting in the wake of recent escalating tensions.

Will Russia-NATO tensions ease?  - ảnh 1
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference after NATO summit on June 14 in Brussels (Photo: EPA/VNA)

Both sides agreed that the talks will take place under the framework of the Russia-NATO Council and will be about transparency and threat mitigation.  Mr. Stoltenberg said NATO continues to be a responsible, transparent organization ready to engage in dialogue with Moscow. He underscored the importance of the Russia-NATO Council as a forum to defuse tensions and increase predictability.

Expectations for the meeting, however, are not high. Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014 led to NATO’s cancellation of bilateral military and civil cooperation. The Russia-NATO Council established in May 2002 as a consultation mechanism remains operational, however. In April 2016, the council convened its first meeting in 2 years, but failed to narrow the differences. NATO’s increased presence in Poland and the three Baltic countries has worsened ties with Moscow. On June 6, NATO began its largest-ever military exercise “Anakonda-1”6 in Poland, which involved 13,000 troops from 20 countries. The drill came just weeks after the US deployed a controversial missile defense shield in eastern Europe.

Russia has many times criticized these acts and warned of appropriate retaliatory measures.  Its Defense Ministry said recently that 3 new divisions will be established on Russia’s western and southern borders to defend against NATO’s aggression.

The upcoming meeting will be affected by decisions made at the NATO submit as to the best way to deal with Moscow. Nevertheless, Russia and NATO agreeing to sit down at the negotiating table has to be taken as a positive sign.