The NATO chief said on Monday that the military bloc aimed at agreeing with Russia on a series of negotiations as it was "not realistic" to expect all conflicts to be solved at once during this week’s talks with Moscow.
“It's not realistic to expect that when we have finished meetings that are all scheduled (for this week), all problems will be solved,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters ahead of this week’s key diplomatic events between NATO allies and Russia.
“I really hope that there is a real will on both sides (…) to engage in the process that can prevent new armed conflicts in Europe. Therefore, we are aiming for an agreement on a way forward, a process, a series of meetings,” he added.
Stoltenberg spoke at a joint news conference with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olga Stefanishyna before the extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.
Stefanishyna praised the allies' decision on negotiating with Ukraine ahead of Wednesday’s NATO-Russia Council, calling it a “strong demonstration” of the principle that “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.”
“We will listen to Russia's concerns, but any meaningful dialogue should also address our concerns about Russia's actions, and it must take place in consultation with Ukraine as we are doing today,” Stoltenberg noted.
On Monday and Tuesday, US and Russian delegations led by US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov are set to meet in Geneva.
The NATO-Russia Council will convene on Wednesday, for the first time since NATO suspended all practical cooperation with Moscow in 2014 because of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.
On Thursday, Russia will hold talks with Ukraine, Germany, and France as part of the so-called “Normandy format” to ensure the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements.
Last year was marked by high tensions between NATO and Russia over spying allegations and Russia’s continued military buildup in and around Ukraine.
Russia handed two draft agreements on European security guarantees to the US and NATO last month.