04:39 GMT26 May 2020
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    Spain's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Ignacio Ybanez has expressed to NATO officials the country's support for constructive relations between Russia and NATO, the Spanish Foreign Ministry said Monday.

    MADRID (Sputnik) — The meeting also dealt with Spain taking part in various NATO programs, including the Baltic Air Policing mission, which protects the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 and Very High Readiness Joint Task Force missions.

    "The secretary of state stressed that Spain supports constructive relations and cooperation between NATO and Russia, so the country stands for the continuation of political dialogue," the ministry said in a statement which followed a meeting between Ybanez and NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller.

    NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, especially in Eastern European countries neighboring Russia, since 2014, using Moscow’s alleged interference in the Ukrainian conflict as a pretext. Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims and warned NATO that the military buildup on Russia’s borders is provocative and threatens the existing strategic balance of power.

    During the last NATO summit in July, NATO resolved to strengthen its military presence in Eastern Europe on a rotational basis with four battalions in Poland and in the Baltic nations. During the 2014 summit, NATO established a 5,000-strong Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in response to the alleged Russian threat.

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    relations, Spanish Foreign Ministry, NATO, Russia, Spain
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