Europe

Despite defense buildup, NATO also seeks to soothe Russia

  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Monday, June 13, 2016. NATO’s chief says the alliance will agree this week to send four multinational battalions to the Baltic states and Poland to boost their defenses against Russia. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Monday, June 13, 2016. NATO’s chief says the alliance will agree this week to send four multinational battalions to the Baltic states and Poland to boost their defenses against Russia. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Monday, June 13, 2016. NATO’s chief says the alliance will agree this week to send four multinational battalions to the Baltic states and Poland to boost their defenses against Russia. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Monday, June 13, 2016. NATO’s chief says the alliance will agree this week to send four multinational battalions to the Baltic states and Poland to boost their defenses against Russia. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, center left, speaks during a meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. NATO’s chief says the alliance will agree this week to send four multinational battalions to the Baltic states and Poland to boost their defenses against Russia. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool)

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, center left, speaks during a meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. NATO’s chief says the alliance will agree this week to send four multinational battalions to the Baltic states and Poland to boost their defenses against Russia. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

NATO's chief says that, despite the reinforcement of its defenses against Russia, the alliance also wants to keep all possible contacts with Moscow open to avoid any unwarranted escalation of tension.

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, confirmed that alliance defense ministers gathered for a two-day meeting starting Tuesday will back the deployment plan to send four multinational battalions to the Baltic states and Poland and also reinforce its posture around the Black Sea in southeastern Europe.

Stoltenberg said that "at the same time we convey a very strong message that we don't seek a confrontation with Russia. We don't want the new Cold War."

He said it "is important that we continue to keep channels for political dialogue open but also military contacts."