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Russian and NATO top brass hold first talks over past years

March 03, 12:01 UTC+3

The alliance made a decision to unilaterally freeze relations with Russia in April 2014

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Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov

Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov

© Olga Balashova/Russian Defence Ministry Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee General Petr Pavel have held negotiations on NATO’s initiative for the first time after the relations with Russia were frozen, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Friday.

The alliance made a decision to unilaterally freeze relations with Russia in April 2014.

"On March 3, 2017, on the initiative of the NATO side, Chief of Russia’s General Staff - First Deputy Defense Minister Army General Valery Gerasimov has held a telephone talk with Chairman of the NATO Military Committee General Petr Pavel. This is the first high-level military contact after the NATO Council made a decision on the freeze of relations with Russia," the ministry’s press office said.

During their talk, the sides discussed the issues of security, the prospects of restoring military interaction, the prevention of incidents and the participation of the alliance’s representatives in international events held by Russia’s Defense Ministry.

"The Chief of Russia’s General Staff drew his interlocutor’s attention to the existing concerns related to the considerable buildup of the North Atlantic alliance’s military activity near Russian borders and the deployment of the system of the NATO united forces’ forward stationing," the ministry said.

Russia’s military chief also informed the NATO general about the key international events and military exercises the Russian Defense Ministry planned to hold in 2017.

"The sides confirmed the need of mutual steps aimed at reducing tension and stabilizing the situation in Europe. Army General Gerasimov and General Pavel agreed on continuing such contacts," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

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