NATO continues to combine meaningful dialogue with credible deterrence and defense, including when it comes to dealing with Russia, the Alliance chief, Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement.

"We see a more assertive Russia. Illegally annexing Crimea. Destabilizing Ukraine. Meddling in our political processes. And investing in modern military equipment, including in new intermediate-range missiles which led to the demise of the INF treaty," Stoltenberg said.

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He went on to say that in "these difficult times, we must avoid miscalculations and misunderstandings. And we need to rebuild trust where possible. We aspire for a more constructive relationship with Russia. All of this is why we keep our diplomatic channels to Moscow open."

"But our diplomatic efforts can only be effective if we engage Russia from a position of credible deterrence and credible defense," said the NATO chief.

As UNIAN reported earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Russia and Chine posed a threat, and called on NATO to grow and confront those threats.