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Russia, NATO military chiefs agree to continue contacts

Chairman of NATO Military Committee Petr Pavel and Chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Valery Gerasimov agreed to continue contacts during the meeting here, media reports said.

The meeting on Thursday is believed as “a follow-on” from the March 3 phone call between the two generals, according to the message posted on NATO website.

That conversation, held at NATO’s initiative, was the first-ever high-level contact after the NATO suspended all practical cooperation with Russia in April 2014 over the situation in Ukraine, Xinhua news agency reported.

Valery Gerasimov and Petr Pavel exchanged views on the situation in the sphere of international security in Europe and the Middle East, local media cited the Russian Defence Ministry as saying.

Valery Gerasimov briefed the NATO official on the Zapad 2017 exercises, stressing that they are not directed against third countries.

Gerasimov said the main purpose of the exercises was to maintain the security of Russia and Belarus.

The talks between Russia’s top military official and NATO military chief in Baku ahead of the joint Zapad 2017 Russian exercises with Belarus next week have already stirred unease in Poland and the Baltic States.

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