NATO no longer considers itself bound by a 1997 agreement with Russia that limited the permanent stationing of alliance troops in central and eastern Europe, its deputy secretary-general, Mircea Geoana, told Lithuanian media.
Geoana, who participated in a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Vilnius, told Lithuanian media that at that meeting he said that “It is Russia that, under (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, came out of all the rules and agreements, including the one signed between the alliance and that country.”.
Alluding to the requests of the Baltic countries for a greater permanent military presence of NATO in their territories, he added that he explained to the parliamentarians that “all the countries on the eastern flank are asking for the strongest possible position from NATO. And that’s what we’re going to do because, as I said, basically Russia lifted the restrictions that we put on ourselves.”.
“In fact, Russia did away with the content of that agreement. It made decisions, it reached commitments not to attack its neighbors, which it is doing, and to consult regularly with NATO, which it does not do.Geoana told the Baltic agency BNS.
The senior official added that “Russia’s brutality knows no bounds. It destroys the lives and property of millions of Ukrainians. And it has lasting consequences that threaten the peace and stability of Europe and beyond.”.
However, he did not directly address whether Western naval forces could break through the blockade of Ukrainian ports to allow grain and other food exports.
“Russia blocks Ukrainian ports to blackmail Ukraine, us and the rest of the world. And we would have to be more clear in saying that they are the perpetrators, while of course we try to find solutions, diplomatic and credible, so that the grain of the Ukrainian ports is released.”, he added.