05:22 GMT16 May 2021
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    Channels of military communication between NATO and Russia must remain open to avoid “the risk of misunderstandings and situations coming out of control”, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

    MOSCOW, January 30 (Sputnik) — Channels of military communication between NATO and Russia must remain open to avoid incidents, as both sides have increased their military presence near each other’s borders, the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday.

    “I think it is important to underline that existing lines remain open and NATO foreign ministers agreed in December that at this time of tension there is a need for regular communication between NATO and Russian military to avoid any incidents,” Stoltenberg told reporters.

    Increased Russian military activity near NATO borders, as well as the alliance’s growing presence close to Russian borders “increases the risk of misunderstandings and situations coming out of control”, Stoltenberg stressed.

    The alliance’s military authorities should keep channels of military communication open and use them when necessary to avoid any possible misunderstandings, the NATO chief added.

    Relations between NATO and Russia have been tense since early 2014, as the alliance has accused Moscow of interfering in the Ukrainian crisis. Russia has repeatedly denied the claims.

    In April, NATO ceased all practical cooperation with Russia, limiting contacts to ambassadorial and higher levels.


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