: NATO and Russia to hold first formal meeting in two years

13:06 Apr. 20, 2016

NATO and Russia to hold first formal meeting in two years

NATO Headquarters in Brussels (Getty Images)

The alliance and Moscow suspended relationship after Crimea annexation in 2014

NATO and Russia are set to hold an official session in Brussels on April 20.

This is their first formal meeting since the suspension of their relationships in June 2014 after Moscow illegally annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

Read also Ukraine should top the agenda during NATO-Russia meeting - Polish National Security Bureau

Both sides remain at odds over this fact, but they have agreed to hold talks at ambassador level. According to the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, it doesn't mean they return to "business as usual".

"The fact that we are now convening a meeting of the NATO-Russia council does not mean that we are back to business as normal. But we have decided to keep the chance for a political dialogue open and the NATO-Russia council is one way of making sure that we have a political dialogue with Russia", said Stoltenberg in an interview.

According to the Alliance's Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow, implementation of the Minsk deal will top the meeting's agenda.

"We need to continue pressure on the Kremlin", said Vershbow. Another topic of the session is expected to be the recent provocations in the Baltic sea involving Russian fighter jets.

Earlier Vershbow claimed Moscow and NATO had two meetings after Russia annexed Crimea. He failed to explain if these meetings were official or secret.

Russian Foreign Ministry rep commented on his statement. She categorically denied any 'secret' contacts with NATO

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