The NATO-Russia summit sends a positive signal, despite a ”wide range” of differences between two sides, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said after meeting Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in Berlin on Wednesday, according to Deutsche Welle.
Berlin and Vilnius have a ”very good military cooperation,” Merkel said, DW wrote.
”The protection of Lithuania still plays an important role, taking into account that Russia is a neighboring country,” Merkel said at a joint press conference.
Germany is set to provide additional military assistance for the Baltic country, especially assistance protecting and monitoring Lithuanian airspace.
NATO is currently engaged in a military build-up near Russian borders, with the former USSR members Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia also set to host troops.
The Western countries and Russia have been flexing their military muscles since the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict in 2014. On Wednesday, however, Moscow envoys met with NATO representatives in Brussels, marking the first such summit since the escalation.
Commenting on the Brussels` meet, Merkel told reporters that dialogue was important.
”From my point of view it was a good sign that there was a NATO-Russia meeting again and that they`re talking,” she said.
At the same time, there remained a ”wide range of differing viewpoints” that the talks did not necessarily reconcile, she added.
Lithuania`s President Grybauskaite also said it was important to keep the communication channels with Russia open, but cautioned that ”this meeting today is not business as usual, not yet.”
There was still no practical cooperation, according to Grybauskaite.