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Top NATO general says ‘there is a chance’ to improve relations between Russia and alliance

March 08, 9:00 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

The alliance’s general cautioned against using the term ‘Russian aggression’ with regard to Baltic countries as NATO leaders had not seen any open hostilities against forces there

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WASHINGTON, March 8. /TASS/. Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have the possibilities to improve their relations, Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, said on Thursday.

‘There is a chance’

In response to a question from TASS to comment on the prospects of further relations between Russia and the West and specify whether he believed that both sides could overcome the current period of sharp tension, leave the legacy of the Cold War behind them and build principally new ties, the alliance’s Gen. Petr Pavel said there was such a chance.

"I am always a cautious optimist," he told reporters. "I believe that there is a chance to have better relations between NATO and Russia," he said.

"We need probably more impulse to move the dialogue forward," Pavel pointed out. "Up to now, the standard agenda is quite vague. We need to get more into substance to move ahead," the NATO general stressed.

NATO sees ‘no obvious offensive acts’ from Russia in Baltic countries.

The alliance’s general cautioned against using the term ‘Russian aggression’ with regard to the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as NATO leaders had not seen any open hostilities against forces there.

While there is increased political tension, "there [has been] no violation of Baltic countries' territory - not even the airspace," Pavel said.

"All we have [seen] in the region is increased military presence, more exercises, more flights of long-range aviation, more use of intelligence. But I wouldn't call it 'aggression,'" the general said.

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