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Russia puts forth idea to hold Russia-NATO Council in Brussels — defense ministry

May 23, 2014, 10:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Each side will be able to present its principled position on what is happening in Ukraine, says Sergei Koshelev, chief of the main international military cooperation department of the Russian Defense Ministry
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Russian Defense Ministry building in Moscow

Russian Defense Ministry building in Moscow

© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Karpov

MOSCOW, May 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia has put forth an idea to hold a Russia-NATO Council meeting in Belgium’s capital, Brussels, and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has suggested the same, chief of the main international military cooperation department of the Russian Defense Ministry Sergei Koshelev told ITAR-TASS at the 3rd International Moscow Security Conference on Friday.

“We initially suggested to hold it (the meeting) before May 25. Then NATO took over the initiative and decided to hold it after May 27. Today the comments were given that May 27 does not suit us. A later date will be set for it. But it was Russian idea at first,” he said.

He noted that the council would convene at the level of ambassadors. “This is a political format, because only officials of the Foreign Ministry are participating in it. Certainly, someone from our permanent mission will participate in it,” Koshelev added.

Koshelev noted that each side would try to explain its position, including over the current situation in Ukraine. “We will give our assessment of the situation, our NATO partners will tell us how they take this situation,” Koshelev said.

The Defense Ministry’s official said, “As a first step, no tasks are set to settle the problem, because all these tasks are resolved in another format.”

“I believe that this will be an opportunity for each side to announce its principled position on what is happening in Ukraine,” he noted.

Koshelev stressed that NATO was intensifying military and political pressure on Russia. Meanwhile, on presidential orders, Russia is pulling back troops from the border with Ukraine. NATO is, on the contrary, beefing up its army grouping in border regions, particularly in Poland. Russia raises permanently this issue at talks with NATO, Koshelev said. “We believe that military reinforcement is groundless,” Koshelev said.

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