06:23 GMT +320 January 2020
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    NATO should contribute to settling the Ukrainian crisis by signaling to those fighting in the war-torn southeastern Donbas region, Russian Envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko said Wednesday.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — The presence of NATO-trained contingents belonging to the Ukrainian army, as well as those rotating on the border of the crisis zone, creates additional tensions in terms of security, he added, speaking at the close of the first session of the NATO-Russia Council in two years.

    "If NATO wants to contribute to [Ukrainian] settlement, it should give clear corresponding signals that military action must end," Grushko told reporters.

    There is no positive agenda in relations between Russia and NATO, however a new meeting of the Russia-NATO Council could be possible if both parties are interested in finding such an agenda, according to Russia's permanent representative to NATO.

    Earlier in the day, the NATO-Russia Council held its first meeting in two years at the level of permanent envoys in Brussels.

    "With regard to a continuation of the meetings, the sides must first examine its [the latest Council meeting’s] results… if we see that there is a real desire to move toward a positive agenda, why not hold them. The problem is that today we do not have a positive agenda with NATO," Grushko told reporters after the meeting.

    He noted that all Moscow-NATO cooperation projects that “actually strengthened Russia's security and the security of NATO countries” have been terminated.

    The NATO-Russia Council was created in 2002 as a mechanism for consultations and cooperation between NATO member states and Russia on a wide range of security issues.

    In 2014, NATO foreign ministers decided to suspend civilian and military cooperation with Russia amid strained relations over the Ukrainian crisis, as the alliance accused Moscow of involvement in the conflict. Political dialogue in the NATO-Russia Council, however, was not halted.

    Russia has repeatedly dismissed the allegations of meddling in Ukrainian affairs and stressed that NATO's military expansion and increased presence near Russian borders undermines regional security.

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    Tags:
    NATO, NATO-Russia Council, Alexander Grushko, Ukraine
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