Top generals from NATO, Russia discuss Syria, military activity in Europe

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 20, 2018

Russia's top military officer and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commander discussed military activities in Europe and exchanged views on Syria during a rare face-to-face meeting in Azerbaijan, both sides have said in separate statements.

Russian military chief Gen. Valery Gerasimov and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Curtis Scaparotti met in Azerbaijan's capital Baku on Thursday, a statement said.

The meeting was the first between the two generals since 2013.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation later reacted by deploying four multinational battalions to Poland and the Baltic states as tripwires against possible Russian adventurism, while the USA military sent a Patriot battery to Lithuania for drills.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said earlier in an interview with Russia's Kommersant daily that a meeting between Scaparrotti and Gerasimov was planned to be held this week. This face-to-face meeting indicates the existence of mutual interest in supporting military communication lines, which is in line with NATO's dialogue and transparency policy.

The Russian Defense Ministry added that while on a visit to Baku, Gerasimov would be received by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

"Ilham Aliyev and Valery Gerasimov exchanged opinions on military-technical cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russian Federation and on prospects of further cooperation", a statement from the Azerbaijani presidency said.

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