Allied foreign ministers met at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday for a discussion on Russia and arms control.
They were joined by partner nations Finland and Sweden, as well as the EU High Representative Josep Borrell.
“Russia has increased its pattern of repressive behaviour at home and aggressive behaviour abroad,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He stressed that NATO’s dual-track approach to Russia, combining strong deterrence and defence with openness to dialogue, remains valid.
He underlined that all Allies welcome the recent decision to extent the New START Treaty and that NATO remains a unique platform for Europe and North America to consult on the future of arms control.
“While our relationship with Russia remains very difficult, our meeting today demonstrates strong agreement among Allies and with our partners. Despite years of pressure and efforts to engage in a meaningful dialogue, Russia has increased its pattern of repressive behaviour at home and aggressive behaviour abroad. In Russia, we still see violent oppression of political dissent.
And we call for the immediate release of Alexei Navalny and other peaceful demonstrators who have been arrested. Abroad, Russia undermines and destabilizes its neighbours, including Ukraine, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova. It supports the crackdown on Belarus, and tries to interfere in the Western Balkans region.
Russia continues its wide-ranging military build-up. From the Baltic to the Black Sea.
In the Middle East and North Africa. And from the Mediterranean to the Arctic. Allies have called out Russia’s disinformation and propaganda.”
Read the full transcript here.