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NATO discusses with Russia warplane transponder switch-on above Baltic Sea — Stoltenberg

NATO is also in dialogue with Finland and Sweden being closer to the Baltic Sea
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

BRUSSELS, October 26. /TASS/. NATO is discussing with the Russian Federation Moscow’s initiative on mandatory switch-on of transponders by warplanes of all countries above the Baltic Sea, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

"We have now a dialogue with Russia on issues related to risk reduction and transparency concerning military activity along our borders," Stoltenberg said.

"And since we have seen such a strong increase in military activity both at sea and in the air there is an increased need for mechanisms to avoid incidents and accidents," he said.

"We have been very focused over a long period of time how can we avoid… incidents and accidents, how can we increase air safety and establish more predictability and transparency to military activities closed to NATO’s borders and in a dialogue with Russia," Stoltenberg said.

"Russia put forward of proposals on a table this summer in July. I met with Foreign Minister Lavrov in New York and we discussed these proposals," he said.

"NATO has responded and we are now in a dialogue with Russia on how to follow up the different proposals and different ideas to create more predictabilities and more transparency and develop more risk reduction and we are ready to… take further these discussions," Stoltenberg said.

"We are also in dialogue with Finland and Sweden being closer to the Baltic Sea. They are also engaged in these issues that we can take forward in taking risk reduction and transparency," he said.

In August, Russia’s Defense Ministry addressed Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden and Poland with the initiative to hold consultations on security in the Baltic region.

"Besides the issue of transponders, the Defense Ministry of Russia suggests discussing a broad range of issues: from interaction with NATO to joint reaction to common challenges and threats," chief of the ministry’s main directorate of international military cooperation Sergey Koshelev told journalists.

In early July, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto that Russia supports Finland’s proposal to ban flights above the Baltic Sea for aircraft with switched-off transponders.