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Nato to hold talks with Russia on ceasefire in Ukraine post Warsaw summit

A Nato- Russia Council meet will take place on July 13 to discuss the stepped up military activity near Russian borders. Nato member states and Russia used to meet regularly until the Ukraine crisis plunged relations into deep freeze.

world Updated: Jul 07, 2016 09:22 IST
AFP
The Nato summit slated for the weekend in Warsaw, Poland, will see member states endorse a major military revamp to counter Russia following the Ukraine crisis.
The Nato summit slated for the weekend in Warsaw, Poland, will see member states endorse a major military revamp to counter Russia following the Ukraine crisis. (Reuters)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) will hold fresh talks with Russia next week, just days after a landmark alliance summit endorses a major military revamp to counter a more assertive Moscow, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

“We have decided together with Russia to hold a meeting of the Nato-Russia Council (NRC)... the meeting will take place on July 13 at the Nato headquarters in Brussels, shortly after the Nato summit in Warsaw,” slated for this Friday and Saturday, Stoltenberg said in a statement.

The NRC brings together ambassadors from the 28 Nato member states and Russia who met regularly until the Ukraine crisis plunged relations with Moscow into the deep freeze.

Read | Russia assails NATO’s move to deploy troops near its border

Russia’s ambassador to Nato Alexander Grushko said, “The main focus will be on the military security in the wake of decisions to be taken at the Nato summit in Warsaw… We hope for a frank and serious dialogue on the issues related to the increased Nato activities near Russian borders and their impact on the security and stability in Europe and its regions.

“We will also continue the exchange of views on the situation in Ukraine and Afghanistan.”

In April this year, the NRC held its first meeting since June 2014 but the talks ended in “profound disagreements” over Ukraine and other issues despite hopes they could ease tensions.

Read | Russia agrees to talks with NATO after Warsaw summit

Germany led calls for the council to meet before the Warsaw summit but Nato diplomatic sources said Russia had appeared reticent, apparently preferring to see the outcome of the gathering before agreeing to talks.

Stoltenberg said the council “has an important role to play as a forum for dialogue and information exchange, to reduce tensions and to increase predictability”.

“Our discussions will focus on the crisis in and around Ukraine and the need to fully implement the Minsk (cease-fire) agreements,” he said.

Nato suspended all practical cooperation with Russia following its shock 2014 annexation of Crimea but kept channels of communication open, with Germany and several other member states stressing that in a crisis situation, it would be wrong to close the door completely.

Nato leaders gathering in Warsaw will sign off on the alliance’s biggest military revamp since the end of the Cold War largely driven by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.