15:55 GMT12 May 2021
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    US ambassador and NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said that all of NATO nations would like to cooperate with Russia against terrorism.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — NATO is unwilling to change its position toward Ukraine in exchange for increased anti-terror cooperation with Russia, US ambassador and NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said on Thursday.

    "Russia also poses this question as if we should cooperate against terrorism and end our measures that have been taken in response to their aggression against Ukraine. We are not going to make any kind of tradeoff," Vershbow said during a press conference with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in Vilnius.

    Vershbow was asked to respond to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s call on Wednesday for Russia and the West to set aside geopolitical games and unite against the common threat of terrorism in the aftermath of the deadly Brussels terror attacks this week.

    Vershbow noted that he believes "all of our nations" would like to cooperate with Russia against terrorism, but they have reservations about Russia’s commitment to fight the Islamic State, or Daesh, after its intervention in Syria.

    The west has been critical of Russia’s anti-terror campaign in Syria, which ended on March 15 after slightly less than six months of air strikes.

    Russia's relations with the NATO deteriorated in 2014 over the Ukrainian crisis, with the alliance cutting off all practical civilian and military cooperation under the NATO-Russia Council. The United States, European Union and their allies accused Russia of meddling in Ukrainian internal affairs.

    Moscow has repeatedly refuted the allegations, noting that NATO amassing troops and military equipment on Russia’s borders constitute provocative acts contrary to previous agreements and can destabilize the region.


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