NATO now sees Russia as a bigger threat than the so-called Islamic State, according to a senior Lithuanian government adviser.
Russian artillery
© AP/Scanpix

"If you look at the document adopted by NATO, you will see that Russia is much more frequently mentioned in it. I believe this reflects a certain understanding that in fact Russia is perceived by everybody as a threat to us as the Alliance and Europe as a whole," said Dalia Grybauskaite's chief foreign policy advisor Nerijus Aleksiejunas on Ziniu Radijas when asked which of the two, Russia or ISIS, is seen by NATO as a greater threat.

Speaking about the Kremlin's strong reaction to the Alliance's decision to deploy battalions to the Baltic countries and Poland, the adviser underlined that the key goal of the decision is "deterrence" and that "it is not an act of provocation or an offensive action, but an attempt to defend ourselves".

After media reports that Grybauskaite's words in an interview with foreign media was "softening" her stance on the Alliance's communication with Russia, Aleksiejunas said that when the means to defer and defend are in place, "certain channels of communication with Russia" can be kept open to avoid "military incidents and tensions".

"We all agree that Russia poses a threat to European security by violating international law and this is recorded in all documents. There is no returning to business as usual with Russia. What we want is to keep communication channels open for certain specific problems," he said.

NATO leaders decided last week to deploy a multinational rotational battalion in each Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland.

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