NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this at a press conference following a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels on Wednesday, January 12.
"NATO Allies are ready to engage in dialogue with Russia but we will not compromise on core principles. We will not compromise on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of every nation in Europe," Stoltenberg said.
"We had a very serious and direct exchange on the situation in and around Ukraine and the implications for European security. There are significant differences between NATO Allies and Russia on these issues. Our differences will not be easy to bridge but it is a positive sign that all NATO Allies and Russia sat down around the same table and engaged on substantive topics," Stoltenberg said.
He said that during today's meeting, Russia raised the proposals that they published in December, aimed at addressing their security concerns.
"These [proposals] include demands to stop admitting any new members to NATO and to withdraw forces from eastern Allies. Allies on their side reaffirmed NATO's open door policy and the right for each nation to choose its own security arrangements. Allies made clear that they will not renounce their ability to protect and defend each other, including with presence of troops in the eastern part of the Alliance," Stoltenberg said.
At the same time, he described as a positive point the fact that both Russia and NATO allies expressed the need to resume dialogue and to explore a schedule of future meetings. According to Stoltenberg, NATO Allies are ready to meet again with Russia to have discussions in greater detail, to put concrete proposals on the table, and to seek constructive outcomes. In particular, Allies would like to discuss concrete ways to increase the transparency of military exercises, prevent dangerous military incidents, and reduce space and cyber threats, he said.