NATO 19 May 2015
I just met with Foreign Minister Lavrov and we discussed different issues, among them of course the situation in Ukraine and I re-stated the very strong NATO position on the illegal annexation of Crimea, but also on the very serious situation we see in eastern Ukraine. I underlined the importance of full implementation of the Minsk Agreements meaning respect for the ceasefire, full implementation of the ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and of course full access for the OSCE monitors so they can monitor the implementation of the ceasefire.
I also called on Russia to withdraw all its troops and support for the separatists. We also discussed the importance of transparency and predictability especially in a situation where we have increased military presence along our borders. And for NATO it is important to do whatever we can to avoid that the incidents and the situation is spiralling out of control. And therefore we are very focussed on transparency related to all our exercises and we are fully transparent when it comes to when and where we are going to conduct exercises.
I also very much underline that we should strive for even more transparency and predictability and we are concerned about the large numbers of snap exercises conducted by Russia because this decreases transparency and predictability. Therefore the snap exercises, the numbers but also the size of the snap exercises, reduce predictability and transparency along our borders and I think we should try to change that by also the Russians being more transparent when it comes to their military activities.
We also addressed the question of lines of communications – military lines of communications. I stated that these lines of military communication between NATO and Russia – we keep them open and we check them. It is important to have these lines of communication and also they can contribute to more predictability and avoiding any misunderstandings.
So these were the main issues we discussed and NATO’s position remains unchanged. We have suspended all practical cooperation with Russia as a response to their behaviour in Crimea and Ukraine. But we are keeping the lines of political contact open and we will continue to do so. I met Foreign Minister Lavrov in Munich and now I met him here and there are regular contacts on both the diplomatic and political level between NATO and Russia. Thank you.
Statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov