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NATO-Russia relations close to freezing point — Russian NATO representative

February 06, 2015, 9:37 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
NATO’s in the military and political situation, first of all along borders with the Russian Federation, will require changes in Russia's military planning
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© EPA PHOTO BELGA / BENOIT DOPPAGNE

BRUSSELS, February 6. /TASS/. The relations between Russia and NATO "have almost reached the freezing point," Russia’s representative at NATO Alexander Grushko told reporters on Friday.

"We are concerned that NATO has been observing decisions of the Wells summit (on September 4-5, 2014) on protection of the alliance’s eastern side against the alleged threat from the east. At the meeting on Thursday, the organization’s decisions fix this trend, negative for the European security, in the form of military planning and carry it out in hardware," he said.

"Some may share impression those are minor decisions about organization of NATO rapid reaction force’s spearhead in the form of a brigade that will be used in a crisis moment at the alliance’s southern or eastern zone. If we analyse NATO’s current military activities, we can see major changes in the military and political situation, first of all along borders with the Russian Federation, which, naturally, would require changes in our military planning in order to protect effectively the lawful security interests of Russia," said the diplomat.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenber said on Thursday in Brussels that the so-called ‘spearhead group’ of NATO’s rapid-response forces will consist of a 5,000-strong brigade, sea-based and air-based elements and special task troops.

NATO passed a decision to unfold six command centers in Eastern Europe for rapid deployment of reinforcements. These centers will be located in the eastern Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as in Poland, Bulgaria and Romania.

NATO urges re-launch of ‘hot line’ with Russian military

The Russian NATO representative said the alliance itself has been actively calling for restoring a "hot line" with the Russian military to prevent dangerous incidents in Europe.

"The statements of some NATO representatives that there is a need to urgently restore military contacts and establish a hot line to have tools to prevent dangerous military incidents signal that NATO itself understands the risks of its own military policy," Grushko stressed.

The signals come at the level of the alliance’s leadership and at the level of NATO countries’ permanent representatives. In particular, such calls have been voiced by NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Philip Breedlove, he said.

Knud Bartels, the chairman of the NATO Military Committee, also said it is necessary to restore contacts at the high military level to have a direct dialogue in an effort to avoid incidents or situations "when the actions of one party can be wrongly interpreted by the other party," Grushko said.

Grushko stressed that German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, the chairman of the upcoming Munich security conference, earlier this week called to devise rules stipulating that military means should maintain a certain mandatory distance and not approach each other during the military activity of Russia and NATO.

The diplomat said there is nothing new in this proposal and that the Soviet Union and NATO countries during the cold war had a similar agreement on preventing dangerous military activity.

"However, the reference to this issue shows that the situation in the security sphere is deteriorating and NATO itself is thinking about how to ease it by using the tools that were created during the years of confrontation," he said.

Grushko stressed that in fact this is "another sign" that the security situation has worsened.

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