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NATO defense ministers discuss more presence in Black Sea region — Stoltenberg

October 26, 2016, 14:24 UTC+3
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance will mark progress in plans for more NATO presence in the eastern flank
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Helicopter landing on the deck of NATO warship during maneuvers in the Black Sea

Helicopter landing on the deck of NATO warship during maneuvers in the Black Sea

© AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

BRUSSELS, October 26. /TASS/. The defense ministers of the North Atlantic alliance will discuss strengthening of NATO presence in the Black Sea region, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

"We will mark progress in plans for more NATO presence in the eastern part of our Alliance, and also in the Black Sea region," Stoltenberg said at the start of the meetings of NATO defense ministers.

"And we will discuss Russia’s recent military activity along our borders. Close to our borders, Russia continues its assertive military posturing," he added.

Stoltenberg also expressed discontent with the deployment of Iskander missile systems in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad region and the suspension of the weapons-grade plutonium disposal agreement with the United States. He also accused Russia of destabilizing eastern Ukraine saying that Moscow allegedly provides the separatists with military and financial support.

The law on suspending this agreement was unanimously approved by the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, earlier on Wednesday. The Russian Defense Ministry earlier said Iskander missile systems were deployed in Kaliningrad for combat training purposes.

Ties with Russia

The North Atlantic Alliance plans to have more constructive relationship with Moscow, Stoltenberg added.

"We continue to strive for more cooperative and constructive relationship with Russia," Stoltenberg said, adding that there is no contradiction between dialogue and strong defense.

"We are now in dialog with Russia on how to follow up the different proposals, the different ideas to create more predictability, more transparency and to develop mechanisms for risk reduction and we are ready to convene a new meeting of that NATO-Russia Council," Stoltenberg said.

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