According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Alliance does not want confrontation with Russia and seek closer cooperation, but it needs to be strong enough to create the basis for political dialogue.
“We will avoid [the beginning] of a new cold war,” said Stoltenberg, speaking at a conference of the Atlantic Council in Washington.
The NATO Secretary General noted that he does not see any contradiction in holding the political dialogue and at the same time to strengthen the defense. “For me, dialogue is not an expression of weakness, it is an expression of force,” Stoltenberg said.
“In the long term Russia needs to understand that she will get more benefits by cooperating with us than opposing us,” he said.
The head of the Alliance also noted that Russia poses no immediate threat to any state party to the NATO, including for the countries located on the Eastern borders of the Alliance. But, according to Stoltenberg, Russia has become more “decisive”. In an attempt to restore a sphere of influence around its borders, it is “prepared to use military force <…> to intimidate neighbors, to change the borders in Europe”, said Stoltenberg.
In response to Russia’s actions, the Alliance has become “more flexible and better prepared”, the power of his response has increased three times, said the Secretary General of the Alliance.
On the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama said about the need to invest in military development of Europe to confront Russia. According to Obama, the U.S. is working to strengthen the defense of Europe, “to support its NATO allies in light of increased aggression by Russia”.
Earlier this week, commander of NATO in Europe Philip Breedlove stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin created a strong army. According to him, the President intends to increase the capacity and capability of the Russian military. “If Putin looks across the border, he realizes that it is NATO, not this or that individual country, and if he crosses the border, he will face all of NATO,” stated Breedlove.