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NATO-Russia summit conclusion: “It is not an easy discussion”, says NATO chief

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said talks with Russia on Wednesday over military aggression along the Ukrainian border were “not an easy discussion.”

“We had a very serious and direct exchange on the situation in and around Ukraine. And the implications for European security,” Stoltenberg told reporters after the talks. “Our differences will not be easy to bridge.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses the press ahead of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers.
(AP Photo / Olivier Matthys)

BIDEN ADMIN SUPPORTS UKRAINE BEFORE NATO AND RUSSIAN SUMMIT

The Secretary General said that despite the difficult position NATO and Russia find themselves in, he believed that the talks had taken place was a “positive sign”.

The meeting comes after months of military build-up along Ukraine’s southern border in what the Kremlin has argued is a security measure.

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a series of demands in December and said he needed a “guarantee” from the alliance of 30 countries that it would not expand eastwards in Ukraine.

Putin argued that if Kiev could join NATO, “strike weapon bases and systems” could be placed in Ukraine and pose an additional threat to the Kremlin.

But the United States and NATO have repeatedly said they will not enforce a blanket membership ban to appease Russia – a sentiment that was repeated on Wednesday.

SECOND. BLINKEN GIVES RUSSIA TWO CHOICES BEFORE THE TALKS IN GENEVA: “MASSIVE CONSEQUENCES”

President Biden and other NATO heads of state and government pose for a family photo during the NATO summit at Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

President Biden and other NATO heads of state and government pose for a family photo during the NATO summit at Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
(Kevin Lamarque / Pool via AP)

“The allies for their part reaffirmed NATO’s open door policy. And the right of each country to choose its own security arrangements,” Stoltenberg told reporters.

“The allies have made it clear that they will not give up their ability to protect and defend each other. Including with the presence of troops in the eastern part of the alliance,” he added. .

Stoltenberg did not say whether progress had been made in de-escalating tensions in Eastern Europe, but said NATO members again called on the Kremlin to dismantle its 100,000 troops amassed at the border. and to refrain from “malicious activities”.

Western countries have proposed increased transparency regarding NATO military exercises in the region, arms control and a review of nuclear policies.

Russian paratroopers load into a plane for airborne exercises during maneuvers in Taganrog, Russia on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

Russian paratroopers load into a plane for airborne exercises during maneuvers in Taganrog, Russia on Thursday, April 22, 2021.
(AP Photo)

“NATO Allies are lucid about the prospects for progress in these talks,” Stoltenberg said.

“All of this means that our dialogue is difficult, but even more necessary,” he added. “NATO Allies have stressed that they will do their utmost to find a political path forward.”

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