NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg restated NATO’s stance on Russia following President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge for normalization of relations and joint cooperation during a phone call Monday with their President Vladimir Putin.
- Stoltenberg: Russia's seizure of Crimea remained a major sticking point.
- Trump agreed to boost cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone Monday.
- Before talks with EU defense ministers in Brussels: NATO wants to keep talking to Moscow.
- NATO chief: Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea was an unacceptable breach of Ukraine's sovereignty.
- German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen: Concerned about Russia's military activities in eastern Ukraine and Syria.
- Leyen: “It is ... important not to forget our principles.”
- Stoltenberg: "The message from NATO has been that we want dialogue with Russia.”
- Stoltenberg, a Norwegian: “Russia is our biggest neighbor, Russia is there to stay and especially when tensions run high and especially when we face many different security challenges, it is important to have dialogue."
- "We will never respect or accept the violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine."
- Kremlin: Crimea is Russian land and its status non-negotiable.
- Putin's call with Trump: Both agreed "to normalize relations and pursue constructive cooperation on the broadest possible range of issues,”
- Leyen: "We should also not forget that Russia bears a humanitarian responsibility in Aleppo, where 250,000 people are threatened with death from hunger.”
(BRUSSELS, BELGIUM) NATO's chief said on Tuesday that Russia's seizure of Crimea remained a major sticking point, sounding a note of caution a day after U.S. president-elect Donald Trump agreed to boost cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The U.S.-led military alliance wanted to keep talking to Moscow, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said before talks with EU defense ministers in Brussels.
But Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea was an unacceptable breach of Ukraine's sovereignty, he added.
His message was echoed by German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen who said she was also concerned about Russia's military activities in eastern Ukraine and Syria. "It is ... important not to forget our principles," she added.
Germany and other European powers have said they are concerned about what Trump's election win will mean for the United States' commitment to NATO.