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    NATO-Moscow Exchange of Info on Drills 'Not Enough for Deescalation' - Envoy

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    The exchange of briefings on military exercises between Russia and NATO is not enough for deescalation, this requires the restoration of fully-fledged contacts between military officials, Russia's envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko said Thursday.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — At a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in Brussels earlier on Thursday, the Russian side informed the alliance of the Zapad-2017 exercises, while the NATO members briefed on the upcoming Trident Javelin exercises.

    "If we talk seriously about deescalation, the prevention of dangerous military incidents, such briefings, even at the ambassadorial level, will not be enough," Grushko told reporters.

    The Russian envoy stressed that to achieve real progress towards deescalation, or at least to gain some degree of mutual trust between Russia and NATO, it is necessary "to think about restoring systemic military contacts."

    "We once again stressed our readiness to work in this direction both on the NRC [NATO-Russia Council] site and in other formats, multilateral and bilateral, and are ready to go as far as our partners are ready."

    Russia proposed at a meeting of Russia-NATO Council on Thursday to conduct a joint assessment with NATO of the military potentials of both sides by military experts, Grushko said.

    "We drew attention to our proposal that an important step could be the invitation of the military experts to sit at a common table and conduct a joint assessment of the military potentials on the maps to be able to assess very professionally, without political bias, without emotion, the entire set of factors affecting military security in Europe."

    Russia is planning to hold briefings for military diplomats at OSCE headquarters in Vienna and in Moscow on the upcoming Zapad-2017 military exercises, he said.

    "This is only the first step in informing our colleagues. The Russian Defense Ministry has already announced that the relevant briefings will be given in Vienna. Another briefing for the military- diplomatic corps in Moscow will be given closer to the start of the exercises," Grushko said.

    Zapad-2017 is a joint strategic exercise of the Russian and Belarusian armed forces scheduled for September 14-20, 2017.

    NATO exercises and deployments near Russia since 2014
    © Sputnik /
    NATO exercises and deployments near Russia since 2014

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    NATO-Russia Council, Alexander Grushko, Russia
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