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Former NATO Chief Expects Russia's Assertive Behavior To Continue For Decades

Former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

BRUSSELS -- Former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says Russia's assertive behavior toward NATO may last for decades.

In an interview with RFE/RL on November 7, Rasmussen said Russians felt "humiliated and betrayed during the 1990s and that is the reason why there is a strong Russian desire to restore Russian greatness in the former Soviet Union territory."

Rasmussen said he is "concerned that this may last as long as the Cold War."

Relations between NATO and Moscow have deteriorated since Russia seized and illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

NATO suspended all military and political cooperation with the Kremlin, even though political and military channels of communication remain open.

In response to Russia's activities in Ukraine, NATO agreed earlier in 2016 to create four battle groups in the Baltic states and Poland with a total of 4,000 troops that should be ready in early 2017.

Rasmussen, who stepped down as NATO secretary-general 2014, thinks the deployment "might raise tension."

But he said that in the longer term, "a stronger NATO deterrence will also contribute to a calmer situation."

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