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NATO Chief Says Alliance Is 'United' On Russia

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance stands united in its policy of "strong defense and constructive dialogue" toward Russia.

"The alliance is united, we stand together in our approach," he told a news conference on July 9, the second day of a two-day NATO summit in Warsaw.

Stoltenberg said this was the "main message" from a meeting NATO leaders held late on July 8 to discuss Russia's increasingly assertive stance.

"I am very pleased to see how strong that message is in NATO and how united we are behind that message," he said.

Asked whether NATO viewed Russia as a threat, Stoltenberg said the alliance doesn't see any "imminent threat against any NATO ally" but does not enjoy the "strategic partnership" with Russia that he said NATO has sought to develop since the end of the Cold War.

"We are in a new situation which is different to anything else we have experienced before," he said.

His comments come one day after NATO leaders endorsed a major new deployment of armed forces to Eastern Europe, the largest such move by the alliance since the end of the Cold War.

Stoltenberg said in July 8 that the move was a response to Russia's support of separatists in eastern Ukraine and its illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The four multinational battalions of up to 1,000 troops will be led by Canada, Germany, Britain, and the United States. They will be stationed in Poland and the three Baltic states.

The NATO-Russia Council, which was set up in the 1990s to address Russia’s misgivings about the alliance expanding eastward, is to meet next week for the second time this year. The council was suspended in 2014 following Russia’s seizure of Crimea.

Based on Reuters and live streaming from the NATO summit in Warsaw.

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