by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council
I have just chaired a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.
Our second meeting this year.
Our discussions are not easy.
But they are important, especially when tensions are going up.
Today we discussed three topics: Ukraine, the INF Treaty, and transparency and risk reduction.
Ukraine remains the first item of discussion.
We discussed the security situation in eastern Ukraine.
The lack of progress on the Minsk Agreements.
And the tensions in and around the Sea of Azov.
NATO Allies once again called for the release of the Ukrainian sailors and ships Russia seized last November.
On these issues, NATO and Russia continue to have fundamental differences.
We also addressed the INF Treaty.
All members of the NATO-Russia Council agree that the Treaty has been crucial to Euro-Atlantic security.
But the Treaty is now in danger.
Unfortunately, we have not seen any signs of a breakthrough.
And time is running out.
Today, Allies urged Russia once again to return to full and verifiable compliance with the Treaty.
Russia expressed its concerns about the implementation of the Treaty.
All participants expressed strong commitment to effective arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.
But we must prepare for a world without the INF Treaty, which will be less stable for all of us.
We also discussed transparency and risk reduction.
We exchanged briefings on upcoming exercises.
NATO briefed on Dynamic Mariner 2019, a maritime exercise off the coast of Spain. And provided a follow-on briefing on Trident Juncture 2018.
And Russia briefed on exercises Tsentr and Union Shield.
Such exchanges are an important element of our continuing dialogue.
They help to limit the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculation.
I look forward to continuing these exchanges at future meetings of the Council.
Today’s meeting covered important topics affecting Euro-Atlantic security.
Our discussion was frank, but necessary.
Allies and Russia hold fundamentally different views.
But we are committed to continuing our dialogue.
Without dialogue, we cannot solve our differences.
And with that, I’m ready to take you questions.