31-01-2023 12:28 PM Jerusalem Timing

NATO, Russia Meet after Alliance Troop Boost

NATO and Russia on Wednesday hold their first talks since the alliance agreed at a summit in Warsaw to beef up its presence in eastern Europe.

NATO and Russia on Wednesday hold their first talks since the alliance agreed at a summit in Warsaw to beef up its presence in eastern Europe.

The meeting between ambassadors from the 28-nation alliance and Russia is the first since April and just the second since 2014, when the Ukraine conflict plunged relations into a deep freeze.

The alliance said it would brief Moscow on last week's decision to send four battalions totaling around 4,000 soldiers to Poland and the Baltic states, which have been nervous ever since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea following a national referendum.NATO and Russia flags

Moscow said it would raise the US missile shield that NATO declared operational at the summit in the Polish capital, as well as improving airspace safety over the Baltic.

"Allies and Russia will discuss three topics -- the crisis in Ukraine, military transparency and the security situation in Afghanistan," NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero said.

"In the spirit of transparency, we will brief Russia on the important decisions we took in Warsaw last week to enhance our security."

Russia has been strongly critical of the NATO decision, accusing the alliance of aggression and warning that it will react to the deployment of forces in its former Soviet backyard.

But NATO said it was acting "purely defensively."

"NATO does not pose a threat to Russia. We do not seek confrontation. We continue to aspire to a constructive relationship with Russia, when Russia's actions make that possible," Romero said.

The "meeting is a sign that NATO is following through on our commitment to political dialogue with Russia."