Relations with Russia
For more than 30 years, NATO tried to build a partnership with Russia, developing dialogue and practical cooperation in areas of common interest. Despite this, Russia has continuously violated the norms and principles that contributed to a stable and predictable European security order, particularly over the past decade. Russia’s brutal and unlawful war of aggression against Ukraine has shattered peace and gravely altered the security environment. In light of its hostile policies and actions, NATO cannot consider Russia to be a partner. The Russian Federation is the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. However, NATO remains willing to keep open channels of communication with Moscow to manage and mitigate risks, prevent escalation and increase transparency. NATO does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia. The Alliance will continue to respond to Russian threats and hostile actions in a united and responsible way.
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- Following the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, NATO tried to build a partnership and pursue dialogue with Russia, including through the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), a forum for consultation on security issues and cooperation.
- However, in response to Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine and illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, NATO suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia in April 2014, while keeping open channels of political and military communication.
- Today, relations between NATO and Russia are at their lowest point since the Cold War. NATO condemns Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. This aggression gravely undermines Euro-Atlantic and global security, and is a blatant violation of international law. NATO Allies, in concert with relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly, demand that Russia stop the war immediately, cease its use of force against Ukraine, and completely and unconditionally withdraw all its forces from Ukraine.
- In addition to its brutal and unlawful war against Ukraine, Russia’s behaviour reflects a pattern of aggressive actions against its neighbours and the wider transatlantic community. Russia seeks to establish spheres of influence and direct control through coercion, subversion, aggression and attempted annexations. It uses conventional, cyber and hybrid means against NATO member countries and partners. Its coercive military posture, rhetoric and proven willingness to use force to pursue its political goals undermine the rules-based international order.
- In light of its hostile policies and actions, the Alliance cannot consider Russia to be a partner. The Russian Federation is the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.
- However, Allies remain willing to keep open channels of communication with Moscow to manage and mitigate risks, prevent escalation and increase transparency.
- NATO seeks stability and predictability in the Euro-Atlantic area and between NATO and Russia. Any change in the NATO-Russia relationship depends on the Russian Federation halting its aggressive behaviour and fully complying with international law.
- Response to Russia's war against Ukraine
- Wider concerns about Russia's behaviour
- Evolution of NATO-Russia relations
- Key areas of cooperation prior to April 2014
NATO condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia's illegal, unjustifiable and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine, which gravely undermines Euro-Atlantic and global security and stability, and is a blatant violation of international law. NATO Allies, in concert with relevant resolutions of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, demand that Russia stop the war immediately, cease its use of force against Ukraine, and completely and unconditionally withdraw all its forces from Ukraine.
Furthermore, NATO Allies call on Russia to fully respect international humanitarian law, and to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access and assistance to all persons in need. Russia’s appalling cruelty has caused immense human suffering and massive displacements, disproportionately affecting women and children. Russia bears full responsibility for this humanitarian catastrophe. There can be no impunity for Russian war crimes and other atrocities, such as attacks against civilians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, which deprives millions of Ukrainians of basic human services. All those responsible must be held accountable for violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law, particularly against Ukraine’s civilian population, including the forced deportation of children and conflict-related sexual violence.
Russia’s war has also had a profound impact on the environment, nuclear safety, energy and food security, the global economy and the welfare of billions of people around the world. Allies and Ukraine strongly condemn Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea grain deal and its deliberate attempts to stop Ukraine’s agricultural exports, on which hundreds of millions of people worldwide depend. Allies are working to revitalise the grain deal and to enable the continued exports of Ukrainian grain by land and sea, including in cooperation with the European Union and the United Nations.
Since Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and the beginning of its aggression in eastern Ukraine in 2014, NATO has adopted a firm position in full support of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, extending to its territorial waters. The Allies strongly condemn and will not recognise Russia's illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, and denounce its temporary occupation.
As a result of Russia's illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, NATO Allies decided in 2014 to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia, while keeping open channels of political and military communication.
NATO also condemns Russia's illegal attempt to annex four regions of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – in September 2022, which is the largest attempted land grab in Europe since the Second World War. The sham referenda in these regions were engineered in Moscow and imposed on Ukraine. They have no legitimacy, and NATO will not recognise them. These lands are Ukraine and will always be Ukraine. The overwhelming vote in the United Nations General Assembly condemning Russia's attempted annexations sent a clear and strong message that Russia is isolated and that the world stands with Ukraine, in defence of the rules-based international order.
NATO’s support to Ukraine
NATO stands in unwavering solidarity with the government and people of Ukraine in the heroic defence of their nation, their land and our shared values. The Alliance fully supports Ukraine’s inherent right to self-defence as enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter. NATO Allies remain steadfast in their commitment to further stepping up political and practical support to Ukraine as it continues to defend its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. NATO will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.
Find out more: Relations with Ukraine
NATO’s enhanced deterrence and defence
NATO has been enhancing its deterrence and defence since Russia’s initial invasion of Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Allies activated NATO’s defence plans and deployed thousands of extra troops from both sides of the Atlantic. Over 40,000 troops, along with significant air and naval assets, are now under direct NATO command in the eastern part of the Alliance. They are supported by tens of thousands of troops from Allies’ national deployments. NATO rapidly established four new multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, in addition to the existing battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The eight battlegroups extend all along NATO’s eastern flank, from the Baltic Sea in the north, to the Black Sea in the south.
At the 2022 Madrid Summit, Allies agreed a fundamental shift in NATO’s deterrence and defence posture. This included strengthening forward defences, preparing battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance to be scaled up from battalions to brigade level, transforming the NATO Response Force and increasing the number of high-readiness forces to well over 300,000. These forces will be underpinned by more pre-positioned equipment and supplies; more forward-deployed capabilities; and upgraded defence plans, with forces pre-assigned to defend specific Allies. All of this constitutes the biggest overhaul of Allied collective defence and deterrence since the Cold War.
At the 2023 Vilnius Summit, Allies built upon their Madrid decisions by approving new regional defence plans to counter the two main threats to the Alliance: Russia and terrorism. NATO Leaders also renewed their pledge to invest a minimum of 2% of Gross Domestic Product annually on defence, and endorsed a Defence Production Action Plan to accelerate joint procurement, boost interoperability and generate investment and production capacity.
NATO Allies are also increasing the resilience of their societies and infrastructure. This includes enhancing cyber capabilities and defences, and providing support to each other in the event of cyber attacks. Following the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, Allies have doubled their naval presence in the Baltic and North Seas and are increasing security around other key installations and pieces of critical infrastructure. NATO members are stepping up intelligence sharing and surveillance across all domains to ensure the protection of critical undersea and energy infrastructure. Allies are also enhancing their preparedness for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, strengthening their energy security, and boosting resilience to hybrid threats, including disinformation.
Sanctions imposed on Russia
Russia’s actions pose a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic and global security and stability, and they will have geostrategic consequences. Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Allies have imposed severe sanctions on Russia to help deprive the Kremlin's war machine of resources. Allies continue to refine these sanctions in order to increase the pressure on Moscow. These efforts will make it harder for Russia to rebuild its tanks, manufacture missiles and finance its war of aggression against Ukraine.
Russia’s war against Ukraine since 2014
Since its initial invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, Allies have called on Russia to end its military intervention in eastern Ukraine. They urged Russia to ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian ports and allow freedom of navigation following an unjustified use of military force against Ukrainian ships and naval personnel in 2018. They also condemned Russia’s construction of the Kerch Strait bridge in 2019, which was yet another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Allies have also noted that violence and insecurity in the region led to the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine on 17 July 2014, resulting in the deaths of all 298 passengers. In accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2166, NATO Allies called for a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident. In May 2018, the NATO Secretary General called on Russia to accept responsibility and fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability after the Netherlands and Australia announced that they hold Russia responsible for its part in the downing of flight MH17.
Allies called for the full implementation by all sides of the 2014 Minsk Agreements, which aimed to settle the conflict with full respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. However, rather than engaging constructively in the Normandy Format and the Trilateral Contact Group, Moscow continued to falsely portray itself as a mediator between Ukraine and its separatist regions, rather than acknowledge its role as a party to the conflict (supplying weapons, equipment, personnel and money to separatist groups) and living up to its responsibility as a signatory of the Minsk Agreements. By recognising the self-proclaimed “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” on 21 February 2022, Russia violated international law, rejected its commitments under the Minsk Agreements and attempted to create a false pretext for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which followed three days later.
From April 2021 until Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Allies continued to urge Russia to immediately reverse its massive military build-up in and around Ukraine. Allies also called on Russia to cease its provocations and to immediately de-escalate tensions on Ukraine’s borders and in illegally annexed Crimea, and to choose the path of diplomacy. To that end, Allies held talks with Russia in a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels on 12 January 2022. Russia rejected the path of diplomacy and dialogue repeatedly offered to it by NATO and its Allies. Russia bears sole responsibility for this war.
NATO’s concerns go well beyond Russia’s war against Ukraine.
In addition to Ukraine, Allies continue to express their support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia and the Republic of Moldova within their internationally recognised borders, and call on Russia to withdraw the forces it has deployed in all three countries without their consent.
Moscow’s behaviour reflects a pattern of Russian aggressive actions against its neighbours and the wider transatlantic community. Russia aims to destabilise countries to NATO’s east and south. In the High North, its capability to disrupt Allied reinforcements and freedom of navigation across the North Atlantic is a strategic challenge to the Alliance. In the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean Sea regions, it continues to challenge Allied security and interests.
Russia is modernising its nuclear forces and expanding their delivery systems, while employing coercive nuclear signalling. It seeks to establish spheres of influence and direct control through coercion, subversion, aggression and attempted annexations. It uses conventional, cyber and hybrid means against NATO Allies and partners. Its coercive military posture, rhetoric and proven willingness to use force to pursue its political goals undermine the rules-based international order.
All of these provocative actions threaten the security of the Euro-Atlantic area and contribute to instability along NATO’s borders and beyond. This instability undermines the predictability of the security environment – NATO cannot discount the possibility of an attack against Allies’ sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Alliance must therefore respond accordingly, by significantly strengthening deterrence and defence for all Allies, enhancing resilience against Russian coercion, and supporting partners to counter malign interference and aggression.
The following activities are of particular concern to NATO:
Russia’s military build-up
Russia has increased its multi-domain military build-up and presence in the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean Sea regions, and it maintains significant military capabilities in the Arctic. Its more assertive posture, novel military capabilities and provocative activities continue to threaten the security of the Euro-Atlantic area. These activities include troop movements near NATO borders; repeated violations of Allied airspace; and large-scale, no-notice and snap exercises. In response, NATO and Allies will continue to undertake necessary, calibrated and coordinated activities.
Military integration with Belarus
Belarus is complicit in Russia’s war against Ukraine. Its support has been instrumental, and it continues to provide territory and infrastructure to aid Russian forces in attacking Ukraine.
Russia’s deepening military integration with Belarus, including the deployment of advanced Russian military capabilities and military personnel in Belarus, has implications for regional stability and the defence of the Alliance. NATO will remain vigilant and continue to monitor developments closely, particularly the potential deployment of so-called private military companies to Belarus.
Allies call on Belarus to stop its malign activities against its neighbours, to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to abide by international law.
Nuclear force modernisation
Russia is modernising its nuclear forces, including its large stockpile of theatre-range weapons, and expanding its novel and disruptive dual-capable delivery systems. It is unacceptable that Russia uses such dual-capable systems to attack civilians and critical civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. Allies condemn Russia’s announced intention to deploy nuclear weapons and nuclear-capable systems on Belarusian territory, which further demonstrates how Russia’s repeated actions undermine strategic stability and overall security in the Euro-Atlantic area. Allies also condemn Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and coercive nuclear signalling. NATO has repeatedly reiterated that any use of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences.
Intensified hybrid activities
Russia has intensified its hybrid actions against NATO Allies and partners, including through proxies. These hybrid actions include interference in elections and democratic processes; political and economic coercion, including the manipulation of energy supplies and food systems; widespread disinformation campaigns; malicious cyber activities; and illegal and disruptive activities by Russian intelligence services.
Russian operatives have endangered the lives and caused the deaths of people on Allied territory, including the 2014 explosions of ammunition storage depots in Vrbetice, Czechia and the 2018 use of a military-grade nerve agent attack in Salisbury, United Kingdom.
Russian cyber operations have targeted institutions in NATO countries, including the 2018 attack targeting the offices of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, Netherlands conducted by the Russian military intelligence service (GRU), and the 2019-2020 SolarWinds hack against the United States, which gave hackers access to data from a wide range of private companies and government agencies.
Allies are enhancing the tools at their disposal to counter Russian hybrid actions, ensuring that the Alliance and Allies are prepared to deter and defend against hybrid attacks.
Russia’s strategic partnership with China
The deepening strategic partnership between the China and Russia, and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order, run counter to NATO’s values and interests. Allies call on China to play a constructive role as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, to condemn Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, to abstain from supporting Russia’s war effort in any way, to cease amplifying Russia’s false narrative blaming Ukraine and NATO for Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and to adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Allies particularly call on China to act responsibly and refrain from providing any lethal aid to Russia.
Violations and withdrawals from arms control treaties
Russia’s violations and selective implementation of its arms control obligations and commitments have contributed to the deterioration of the broader security landscape.
- NATO Allies condemn Russia’s purported suspension of the New START treaty, which contributes to international stability by constraining Russian and US strategic nuclear forces. Allies condemn Russia’s failure to comply with its legally binding obligations under the Treaty. They call on Russia to return to full implementation of the Treaty, and to act responsibly and engage constructively to reduce strategic and nuclear risks.
- Allies also condemn Russia’s decision to withdraw from the landmark Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), a cornerstone of Europe’s security architecture that establishes legally binding and verifiable limits on key categories of conventional military equipment. Russia has for many years not complied with its CFE obligations, in particular by ceasing its implementation of the CFE Treaty without a legal basis in 2007. Allies have repeatedly called on Russia to comply with the Treaty. Russia has not engaged constructively, and has not taken steps towards full compliance. Allies urge Russia to implement its commitments and obligations, and to use the remaining time before its withdrawal to reconsider its decision. Allies will continue to consult on the implications of Russia’s withdrawal from the CFE Treaty and its impact on the security of the Alliance.
- In June 2021, Allies expressed their deep regret regarding Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, which allows surveillance flights over its signatories’ territory in order to increase transparency and reduce misunderstandings. Russia’s withdrawal from the Treaty became effective on 18 December 2021.
- Allies have also condemned Russia’s selective implementation of the Vienna Document, which increases transparency through information sharing on armed forces and military activities like exercises.
- In December 2018, NATO Foreign Ministers supported the finding of the United States that Russia was in material breach of its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Due to Russia’s non-compliance, the United States suspended its obligations under the INF Treaty on 1 February 2019. The Allies remained open to dialogue and engaged Russia on its violation over the following six months. However, Russia continued to deny its INF Treaty violation, refused to provide any credible response, and took no demonstrable steps towards returning to full and verifiable compliance. As a result, on 2 August 2019, the United States decided to withdraw from the Treaty with the full support of the Allies.
Irresponsible behaviour in space
NATO Allies have condemned Russia’s reckless and irresponsible anti-satellite missile test of 15 November 2021. This test caused an orbital debris field that significantly increased risk to human life and to the space-based assets of numerous countries and entities. This dangerous behaviour directly contradicted Russia’s claims to oppose the “weaponisation” of space and undermined the rules-based international order. NATO Allies remain committed to protecting and preserving the peaceful access to and exploration of space for all humanity.
Russia’s aggressive posture
Russia’s actions demonstrate a posture of strategic intimidation. They underline the continued need for NATO to monitor all of these developments and adapt its posture as necessary. Allies will continue to work closely together to address the threats and challenges posed by Russia.
For more than 30 years, NATO tried to build a partnership with Russia, developing dialogue and practical cooperation in areas of common interest. Today, however, relations between NATO and Russia are at their lowest point since the Cold War.
NATO-Russia relations began after the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when Russia joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (1991). This forum for dialogue was succeeded in 1997 by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, which brings together Allies and partner countries in the Euro-Atlantic area.
Practical cooperation started after Russia joined the Partnership for Peace programme (1994) and deployed peacekeepers in support of NATO-led peace-support operations in the Western Balkans in the late 1990s.
The 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act provided the formal basis for bilateral relations, including by establishing the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC) as a forum for consultation and cooperation.
Russia froze its relations with NATO because of differences over the Kosovo crisis in 1999, but resumed cooperation activities – including participation in the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) – and meetings within the PJC following the end of NATO’s air campaign in Kosovo.
Dialogue and cooperation were strengthened in 2002, when the PJC was replaced by the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), established by the 2002 Rome Declaration to serve as a forum for consultation, consensus-building, cooperation, joint decision-making and joint action. Within the NRC, the individual NATO member states and Russia have worked as equal partners on a wide spectrum of security issues of common interest.
To facilitate regular contacts and cooperation, NATO and Russia agreed to create political and military channels of communication. To that end, Russia established a diplomatic mission to NATO in 1998. NATO opened an Information Office in Moscow (NIO) in 2001 and a Military Liaison Mission (MLM) in 2002.
The NIO served as the focal point for disseminating information within Russia on NATO, contributing to the Russian public’s understanding of evolving relations between the Russian Federation and NATO. The NIO contributed to these objectives by distributing NATO official information through print and digital channels to the Russian public, sponsoring communications projects by Russian non-governmental organisations and providing information on NATO’s educational and scientific programmes for Russian institutions and potential Russian applicants. It also organised visits for Russian visitors to NATO Headquarters in Brussels and other NATO sites, as well as for NATO representatives to the Russian Federation.
The MLM contributed to NATO-Russia relations by maintaining an open channel of communication between NATO's Military Committee in Brussels and the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. Maintaining a channel of military-to-military communication helped to increase predictability and reduce the risk of misunderstandings that could lead to conflicts.
Russia's disproportionate military action in Georgia in August 2008 led to the temporary suspension of formal meetings of the NRC and cooperation in some areas; meetings and cooperation resumed in spring 2009. The Allies continue to condemn Russia’s decision to recognise the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.
All practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia was suspended in April 2014, in response to Russia’s military intervention and aggressive actions in Ukraine, and its illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, which NATO will never recognise.
In October 2021, Russia suspended the work of its diplomatic mission to NATO, and required NATO to close down the NATO Information Office in Moscow and suspend the work of the NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow. NATO regrets Russia’s decision to curtail political channels of communication and dialogue. NATO remains committed to making good use of the existing military lines of communication between both sides to promote predictability and transparency, and to reduce risks, and calls on Russia to do so as well.
Through its war of aggression against Ukraine, Russia has rejected the path of diplomacy and dialogue repeatedly offered to it by NATO and Allies. It has fundamentally violated international law, including the United Nations Charter. Russia’s actions are also a flagrant rejection of the principles enshrined in the NATO-Russia Founding Act; it is Russia that has walked away from its commitments under the Founding Act. Any change in the NATO-Russia relationship depends on the Russian Federation halting its aggressive behaviour and fully complying with international law.
Until the suspension of activities in April 2014, NATO and Russia cooperated in a wide range of areas, including:
Support for NATO-led operations: For a number of years, Russia supported the NATO-led, UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan through various arrangements to facilitate the transit of non-military equipment for ISAF contributors across Russian territory. Several Russian ships were deployed in support of Operation Active Endeavour, NATO's maritime operation against terrorism in the Mediterranean, and as part of Operation Ocean Shield, NATO's counter-piracy operation off the Horn of Africa. Until the withdrawal of its peacekeepers in early 2003, Russia supported the NATO-led peace-support operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.
Support for the Afghan Armed Forces: The NRC Helicopter Maintenance Trust Fund project, launched in 2011, helped train Afghan Armed Forces to operate and maintain their helicopter fleet and to conduct medical evacuations. Some 40 Afghan helicopter maintenance staff were trained by the end of 2013.
Counter-narcotics training of Afghan and Central Asian personnel: The NRC Counter-Narcotics Training Project, launched in December 2005, helped to build local capacity and promote regional networking and cooperation among mid-level officers from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It was implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Over 3,500 officers were trained under the project. Since the suspension of cooperation with Russia, NATO has organised a new project with the UNODC.
Combatting terrorism: An NRC Action Plan on Terrorism was launched in December 2004. Cooperation in this area included exercises and regular exchanges of information and in-depth consultations on issues including consequence management, countering improvised explosive devices, and hosting and securing high-visibility events. Under the Cooperative Airspace Initiative, an information exchange system was developed to provide air traffic transparency and early notification of suspicious air activities to help prevent terrorist attacks such as the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The STANDEX project developed technology to enable the stand-off detection of explosive devices in mass transport environments, and successful live trials took place in June 2013.
Theatre missile defence/ballistic missile defence: A common concern was the unprecedented danger posed to deployed forces by the increasing availability of ever more accurate ballistic missiles. A study, launched in 2003, assessed the possible levels of interoperability among the theatre missile defence systems of the Allies and Russia, and command post and computer-assisted exercises were organised to develop mechanisms and procedures for joint operations. At the 2010 Lisbon Summit, NRC leaders approved a joint ballistic missile threat assessment and agreed to develop a joint analysis of the future framework for missile defence cooperation. While Russia continues to voice concerns about NATO's planned missile defence capability, Allies underline that it is not directed against Russia, nor will it undermine Russia's strategic deterrent, but is intended to defend against potential threats from beyond the Euro-Atlantic area.
Non-proliferation and arms control: Expert discussions focused on issues related to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, developing recommendations to strengthen existing non-proliferation arrangements and exploring possible practical cooperation in the protection against nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Frank discussions took place on issues related to conventional arms control, such as the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), the Open Skies Treaty, and confidence- and security-building measures. A key priority was to work towards the ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty, so the Allies expressed concern over Russia's unilateral "suspension" of its participation in the treaty in December 2007 and its subsequent decision in March 2015 to suspend participation in the joint consultative group that meets in Vienna regularly to discuss the implementation of the CFE Treaty.
Nuclear weapons issues: Several seminars focused on nuclear doctrine and strategy, lessons learned from nuclear weapons incidents and accidents, and potential responses to the detection of improvised nuclear or radiological devices. Between 2004 and 2007, experts and representatives from NRC countries also observed four nuclear weapon accident response field exercises, which took place in Russia and each of NATO's nuclear weapon states (France, the United Kingdom and the United States). Such activities increased transparency, developed common understanding of nuclear weapons accident response procedures, and built confidence that the nuclear weapon states were fully capable of responding effectively to any emergency involving nuclear weapons.
Military-to-military cooperation: Military liaison arrangements were enhanced under the NRC at the Allied Commands for Operations and for Transformation, as well as in Moscow. A key objective of military-to-military cooperation was to build trust, confidence and transparency, and to improve the ability of NATO and Russian forces to work together in preparation for possible future joint military operations. Areas of cooperation included logistics, combatting terrorism, search and rescue at sea, countering piracy, theatre missile defence/ballistic missile defence and military academic exchanges – and related military activities.
Submarine crew search and rescue: Work in the area of submarine crew search and rescue at sea grew steadily following the signing of a framework agreement on cooperation in this area in February 2003. Russia participated in three NATO-led search-and-rescue exercises between 2005 and 2011.
Defence transparency, strategy and reform: Aimed at building mutual confidence and transparency, dialogue took place on doctrinal issues, strategy and policy, including their relation to defence reform, nuclear weapons issues, force development and posture. Initiatives launched in the area of defence reform focused on the evolution of the military, management of human and financial resources, reform of defence industries, managing the consequences of defence reform, and defence-related aspects of combatting terrorism. From 2002 to 2008, a NATO-Russia Resettlement Centre helped facilitate the integration of former Russian military personnel into civilian life by providing information regarding job search and resettlement, training and job placement services. Initially set up in Moscow, its operations were gradually expanded into the regions. Some 2,820 former military personnel from the Russian armed forces were retrained and over 80 per cent found civilian employment.
Defence industrial cooperation: A broad-based "Study on NATO-Russia Defence Industrial and Research and Technological Cooperation", launched in January 2005 and completed in 2007, concluded that there was potential in combining scientific and technological capabilities to address global threats.
Logistics: Opportunities for logistics cooperation were pursued on both the civilian and military sides, including areas such as air transport, air-to-air refuelling, medical services and water purification. Meetings and seminars focused on establishing a sound foundation of mutual understanding in the field of logistics by promoting information-sharing in areas such as logistics policies, doctrine, structures and lessons learned.
Civil emergencies: NATO and Russia cooperated between 1996 and 2014 to develop a capacity for joint action in response to civil emergencies, such as earthquakes and floods, and to manage the consequences of terrorist attacks. Moreover, a Russian proposal led to the establishment in 1998 of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre.
Scientific cooperation: Russia was actively engaged with the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme from 1992. Scientists and experts from Russia sought to address a wide range of security issues, notably in the fields of defence against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents, mine detection and counter-terrorism (including explosives detection such as the STANDEX project mentioned above), and environmental and security hazards posed by oil spills and munitions dump sites in the Baltic Sea. Through an SPS research grant, NATO also supported the work of a Russian scientist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics, Professor Zhores Alferov.
Terminology and language training: To facilitate better understanding of terms and concepts used by NATO and Russia, glossaries were developed on the entire spectrum of NATO-Russia cooperation. Language cooperation was expanded in 2011 with the launch of a project to harmonise language training for military and selected civilian experts at the Russian defence ministry.