Interfax: Serious Russia-NATO talk about de-escalation in Europe requires restoration of military contacts – Grushko

NATO Meeting file photo

BRUSSELS. July 13 (Interfax) – Information briefings even at the level of ambassadors in the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) are not sufficient for a serious talk about de-escalation of the military situation in Europe; what is needed is a restoration of interrupted military contacts, Alexander Grushko, Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO, said after a NRC meeting on Thursday.

“If someone is really interested in de-escalating the military-political situation in Europe and in the first shoots of confidence emerging between Russia and NATO, then military contacts should be restored,” Grushko said.

The NRC meeting was held precisely because it had been agreed to put the worsening state of the military-political situation in Europe at the top of its agenda, he said. The Russian and NATO military informed each other regarding preparations for the Russian-Belarusian Zapad (West)-2017 exercise and NATO’s Trident exercise, the representative said.

Recently there has been an increase in “scaremongering and speculation” about the Zapad-2017 exercise, he said.

“The Russian Defense Ministry replied to the request from NATO colleagues, and today our military gave a detailed briefing about this exercise, providing information both on its tasks and stages, about the training areas where forces will be deployed, and the participating forces and materiel – the personnel and equipments numbers,” Grushko said.

This is only the first step in information distribution, Grushko said. The Russian Defense Ministry announced that more such briefings will be held, including at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and one detailed briefing on the final details of the exercise just before it begins, he said.

“We confirmed our readiness to work both within the NRC and in other formats and go in information-sharing as far as our partners will be ready to,” Grushko said.

[featured image is file photo]