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No Time Line Set for Russia-NATO Communication to Move Forward

Sputnik News

21:14 23.01.2015(updated 22:12 23.01.2015)

NATO generals and their Russian counterparts do not have any specific communications timetable, according to NATO spokesman.

WASHINGTON, January 23 (Sputnik) – Re-establishment of NATO communication with Russian military leaders is not defined by any time frames at the moment despite announcements that NATO intends to restore communication with its Russian counterparts, NATO military spokesperson Colonel Martin Downie told Sputnik on Friday.

"No time line has been set for this communication to move forward," Downie said.

US General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR) said Thursday that the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) intends to restore communication lines with Russia, stressing that the communication with Russian senior military interlocutors is important.

"No new decisions on this have been taken by the CHODS [Chiefs of Defense Staff], and SACEUR was expressing the position agreed by the foreign ministers," Downie noted.

The spokesperson added that there are bilateral contacts between many allies and Russia at the military level, but there is currently no routine means of contact between NATO and Russia exclusively aimed at avoiding misunderstandings during military activities.

"NATO Headquarters does maintain a regularly checked line with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Russian Embassy in Brussels," Downie said, adding that NATO Foreign Ministers agreed in December last year that "at this time of tension there is a need for regular communications among NATO and Russian military to avoid any incidents, and that NATO military authorities should keep channels of military communications open and use them when necessary to avoid any possible misunderstandings related to military activities."

Contact between the Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and NATO are traditionally maintained by Gen. Breedlove and the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Danish General Knud Bartels. The last communication took place on May 19, 2014, when the sides discussed the bloc's troop buildup on Russia's western borders and the situation in Ukraine.

Lack of communication between NATO and Moscow has been repeatedly decried by top-level Russian officials as contributing to increased misunderstanding and suspicion between the sides.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Moscow's readiness for equal dialogue and cooperation, adding that by severing all contact with Russia, NATO has chosen a "confrontational path."

NATO has been strengthening its military presence in Eastern Europe amid the crisis in Ukraine, having accused Moscow of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs since the spring of 2014. Russia has repeatedly denied the claim, expressing concern over the buildup of NATO forces along its western border.


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