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BRUSSELS, December 19. /TASS/. An ambassadorial meeting of the Russia-NATO Council, the third meeting this year, has begun in Brussels. According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the parties will discuss a standard range of issues including the situation in Ukraine, transparency of military activities in Europe as well as risk reduction measures.
As Stoltenberg said earlier, NATO continues "to strive for a more constructive relationship with Russia and we strongly believe that in times when tensions run high it is even more important to have dialogue, to have a chance for political dialogue open and we continue to pursue our dual-track approach with strong defense combined with dialogue and political communication with Russia." He went on to say that "the alliance looks forward to continue the important work of the NATO-Russia Council including addressing risk reduction and transparency because with more military activity and with high tensions it’s even more important to have transparency and to have mechanisms to avoid incidents and." "Our approach to Russia should build on the message - defense and dialogue, not defense or dialogue," he added.
Russia’s Ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko, in turn, said: "We expect an open discussion of Europe’s security issues taking into consideration the factors affecting security including the consequences of NATO’s military drills on its eastern flank."
Two meetings of the Russia-NATO Council have already been held this year, on April 20 and July 13, after the NATO summit in Warsaw. Before relations between Russia and NATO deteriorated over the coup d'·tat in Ukraine in 2014 and Crimea’s reunification with Russia, such meetings were held several times a month.