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MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. Russia’s Defense Ministry has proposed to its counterparts from the Baltic states to discuss both the use of transponders by combat aircraft and interaction with NATO, Head of the Defense Ministry’s Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation Sergei Koshelev said on Friday.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said earlier that the flights by NATO’s and Russia’s warplanes over the Baltic Sea with switched-on transponders wouldn’t improve security in the region. As Koshelev said, the Russian Defense Ministry drew attention to the fact that Linkevicius "highlighted only one element of the Russian initiative on reducing tension in the Baltics."
"Aside from the issue of transponders, the Russian Defense Ministry is proposing to discuss a wide range of issues, from interaction with NATO to the joint response to common challenges and threats," Koshelev said.
The Russian Defense Ministry had sent the relevant proposal to the defense ministries of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Sweden and Finland, Koshelev said.
As the Russian defense official said, Russia’s Defense Ministry expects an official response from the partners to the Russian proposals "as communication through the media won’t allow promptly eliminating existing disagreements."
As was reported earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry had turned with an initiative to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden and Poland to hold consultations on security in the Baltic region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in early July that Russia supported Finland’s proposal on banning flights over the Baltics with switched-off transponders.