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Heads Of NATO, EU Call For Strength But Dialogue With Russia

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called for a constructive relationship with Russia despite NATO's biggest military buildup since the Cold War.

The heads of NATO, the European Council, and the European Parliament said they remain committed to taking a hard line against Russia while staying engaged in dialogue.

At a forum in Germany on October 10, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, European Council President Donald Tusk, and European Parliament President Martin Schulz called for a balanced policy toward Moscow.

"We should not declare Russia to be a pariah. Instead, we should tell Moscow, 'We condemn what you are doing wrong but will keep the channel for dialogue open for when you're ready,'" Schulz said.

Stoltenberg called for a constructive relationship with Russia despite the largest military buildup by NATO since the Cold War, which he said is now mostly complete.

"We don't want to increase our presence [further], but we'll continue to send a signal that our troops can be reinforced if needed," he said. "It's very important to avoid a new Cold War. We don't want a new arms race."

Tusk also said normal relations with Russia is a goal, but since the extension of EU sanctions imposed over Russia's forcible annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014, nothing has changed.

That means the sanctions are likely to be extended again, he said.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters