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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

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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