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Former Foreign, Defense Ministers Urge NATO, Russia To Cooperate

A group of former foreign and defense ministers is urging Russia and NATO to come up with a set of rules to handle unexpected military encounters.

The group of 14 -- including former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, ex-German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe, and colleagues from Britain, France, Spain, and Turkey -- said rules for communication at sea and in the air were paramount.

Russia and NATO have both conducted a higher than usual number of military drills because of the crisis in Ukraine, leading to a rise in near misses between rival military jets.

"The situation is ripe with potential for either dangerous miscalculation or an accident that could trigger a worsening of the crisis or even a direct military confrontation," they said in a report published on August 25 by the European Leadership Network.

The London-based think tank said it had recorded 66 "close military encounters" between Russian and NATO military forces and between Russia and neutral Sweden and Finland.

Based on reporting by Reuters