NATO allies discuss ties with Russia

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ANKARA

NATO foreign ministers on Wednesday discussed Russia with partners Finland and Sweden.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also attended the meeting.

Speaking at a news conference after the meeting, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Russia has increased its pattern of repressive behavior at home and aggressive behavior abroad despite years of pressure and efforts to engage in a meaningful dialogue.

“Our dual-track approach combines strong deterrence and defense, with openness to dialogue,” said Stoltenberg on relations with Russia.

He said NATO allies have agreed to review and adopt the deterrence and defense policy when dealing with nuclear threats from Russia.

He added that the allies welcomed the extension of nuclear arm reduction New START Treaty between Russia and the US.

“This must be the beginning of an effort to further strengthen international nuclear arms control. We see that Russia continues to deploy new and destabilizing nuclear weapons,” said Stoltenberg.

“We need agreements that cover more weapons and more nations like China. So, the arms control regime must take account of new realities,” he added.

NATO chief also called on Russia to immediately release Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny and other peaceful demonstrators who protested Navalny’s arrest in the country.

China

Asked about the recent sanctions imposed on China by the US, Canada and the EU, Stoltenberg said: “NATO as an institution has not made a formal decision. NATO allies actually implemented sanctions themselves as individual nations or through the European Union.”

“We don’t regard China as an adversary but the rise of China has direct consequences for our security,” he said.

“Most importantly, China is a country that doesn’t share our values. We see that in the way they deal with Democratic protests in Hong Kong, how they suppress minorities in their own country,” he added.

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