NATO concerned over Belarus’ increased dependence on Russia

NATO is concerned over increased cooperation between Russia and Belarus, said NATO’S Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg,

In an interview with the German weekly Welt am Sonntag, Stoltenberg said that NATO member states were "seriously concerned" about the close engagement between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko in recent months.

According to Stoltenberg, Belarus is becoming "increasingly dependent" on Russia.

He warned Moscow and Minsk against destabilizing the situation on NATO’s eastern flank, noting that the Alliance is ready to defend itself.

Stoltenberg also noted the growing activity in relations between Russia and China, which, in his opinion, "are cooperating more closely both politically and militarily."

Stoltenberg noted that Moscow and Beijing are increasingly coordinating their actions in international organizations, in particular at the UN, as well as "conducting joint military exercises, long-range flights of combat aircraft and naval operations, intensively exchanging experience in the field of weapons and control over the Internet."

"This is a new dimension and a serious challenge," he said.

"Russia's aggressive actions" and international security challenges related to the strengthening of China will be discussed at the NATO summit on June 14 with the participation of U.S. President Joe Biden.

Stoltenberg also said that NATO will continue to ensure reliable deterrence and protection against Russia's actions but believes there is still possibility of a dialogue with Moscow.

  Belarus, NATO, Russia

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