"Russia is our biggest neighbor, Russia is here to stay, there is no way we can isolate Russia, we have to manage our relationship with Russia, and especially in times when tensions run high it’s especially important to keep channels of dialogue open with Russia," Stoltenberg said.
Earlier on Wednesday, German news outlet Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten already noted the softening of NATO's rhetoric towards Russia while commenting on Stoltenberg's remarks at the Council of the European Union on Tuesday.
"After the election victory of Donald Trump, NATO suddenly started speaking about Russia in a much milder tone," the outlet noted.
However it further wondered how long this softening will last, noting that some countries of the Alliance are concerned about the possible rapprochement between Moscow and Washington, especially after the phone conversation between President Putin and President-Elect Trump.
The outlet also noted that NATO "has already developed appropriate scenarios" in case the US stops protecting Europe, recalling that during his election campaign Donald Trump threatened the withdrawal of US troops from Europe if the Europeans did not fully pay for the protection.
Commenting on the article, Russian parliamentarian Franz Klintsevich, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Defense and Security at the Federation Council (upper house of parliament) suggested that the Alliance is trying to block even minimum progress in Russia-US relations.
"Nothing has happened yet, however Russia's ill-wishers have already started pressuring the president-elect. NATO Secretary General has joined the chorus. One could only wonder what to expect if Donald Trump starts making real steps on the reset of the relationship with Russia," he told RIA Novosti.
The politician noted that such advisors are acting far in advance as it is absolutely clear that it is impossible for the US to abandon the Alliance now nor in the foreseeable future. And Jens Stoltenberg has to understand this.
These remarks should therefore be treated as an attempt to block even minimum progress in Russia-US relations, to stop the process "in embryo."
The parliamentarian also noted that such advisors are pursuing their own vested interests.
"It has nothing to do with making the world more secure. And NATO has once again proved the adherence to its principle "the worse the world is, the better it is," he finally stated.