10:15 Jul. 14, 2016
While there was little evidence that tensions were eased in Brussels on Wednesday, there was a call for both sides to play by the rules
A meeting Wednesday of NATO and Russian ministers, billed as an opportunity to defuse tensions after the alliance's recent declaration that it was in deterrence mode on Russia, produced no "meeting of the minds," NATO's chief said.
The NATO-Russia Council, set up 14 years ago to help avert crises, met in Brussels following last week's NATO summit in Warsaw, where the alliance announced it was deploying four battalions along its eastern flank in the face of Russia's more assertive, more aggressive behavior. Russia is not happy about the NATO buildup in nations that have historically been under its control, and analysts expected those tensions to dominate Wednesday's meeting.
"It was a useful meeting with frank and open discussions," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after Wednesday's meeting. He said Ukraine topped the agenda.
"NATO allies do not and will not recognize Russia's illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea," Stoltenberg told reporters.