RIGA – NATO must continue its policy towards Russia that it has implemented over the past years, which calls for deterrence against any possible aggressive actions, especially against alliance members, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) emphasized to LETA ahead of the forthcoming NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Riga.
Speaking about NATO’s policy towards Russia, the Foreign Minister drew attention to the presence of battalion-level battle groups in the Baltic States and Poland, and other defense issues are being worked on. The situation is similar with NATO’s increased support for its Black Sea allies, Romania and Bulgaria.
“At the same time, a dialogue is needed on issues related to the exchange of information in order to prevent and reduce the risks of incidents in this tense environment. We should also talk about how to prevent escalation at Ukraine’s borders,” Rinkevics emphasized.
He emphasized that there had been a large-scale redeployment of Russian military equipment and soldiers in April, and that something similar was happening recently. In the Minister’s view, this type of issue should also be discussed, as well as issues that help to reduce tensions to some extent, such as arms control matters.
Given the recent suspension of the Russian mission to NATO, Rinkevics said that the NATO-Russia Council should be convened with some regularity, which, according to the minister, is not a simple format, as there is sometimes a sharp exchange of views, but this has not happened either.
“In my opinion, this does not mean that NATO should change its approach – deterrence, support for all members and dialogue with Russia on issues that help prevent incidents and reduce tensions, for example at Ukraine’s borders. But it takes two to tango,” said the foreign minister.