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    Turning Over a New Leaf? Russia-NATO Relations Beginning to 'Brighten Up'

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    Russia-NATO Relations Reach a New Low (121)

    The Russian Defense Ministry invited NATO military experts to Moscow for a round of consultations expected to be held in September. Defense analyst Viktor Baranets told Radio Sputnik that this is a step in the right direction, adding that relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance are gradually "brightening up."

    In his opinion, Moscow and the bloc will "sooner or later find common ground" in most areas. He also added that "we must have a common enemy, international terrorism. If we come to an agreement on this issue, we will make a great positive contribution for the whole world."

    Baranets maintained that this process has already begun, but it will not be easy. Some NATO military officials, in his view, are beginning to realize that the bloc "has flirted with the idea of a Cold War with Russia for too long and it would be better to discuss what is truly happening at the negotiating table."

    "I am truly happy that relations are brightening up," he added.

    On Monday, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov confirmed that military experts from the North Atlantic Alliance were invited to Moscow to discuss the security and political situation in Europe. Russia is "ready for a constructive dialogue on all issues of mutual interest," he said. Military flights over the Baltic region will be one of the key issues on the agenda.

    Baranets warned that if NATO officials come it would not automatically mean that they have abandoned their anti-Russian stance, but it would most likely indicate that they are more inclined to discuss points of contention.

    "They will come with an old set of arguments, but we will listen to what they have to say anyway. In any case there will be a crack in their rigid opposition to Russia," he said. "It is better than sending armies towards each other."

    NATO troops at a range in Estonia participating in the Saber Strike-2016 exercises, June 2016.
    © Sputnik / Sergey Stepanov
    NATO troops at a range in Estonia participating in the Saber Strike-2016 exercises, June 2016.

    The North Atlantic Alliance has been critical of Russia since a civil war broke out in Ukraine in 2014, although Moscow is not a party to the deadly conflict. In addition, the bloc has used the non-existent threat emanating from Russia to justify an unprecedented military buildup in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region.  

    One of the latest anti-Russian measures that NATO approved involves deploying four multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The United States will establish and lead one of these battle groups. Baranets is convinced that the decision on multinational battalions has been made under Washington's pressure.

    "Everyone understands that US policy is at the heart of NATO's policy. The bloc is an instrument in the hands of the US," he said. "I hope that Washington's globalist policy aimed at militarizing Europe and maintaining a military standoff with Russia will become less pronounced. In such a case, both sides will win."

    Russia-NATO Relations Reach a New Low (121)


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