NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg confirmed in a press conference that the Western military bloc is “in favor of dialogue” with Russia — yet, this apparent openness still didn’t extend to taking any questions from Russian reporters.
During the Wednesday press gathering, an AFP reporter asked Stoltenberg how he felt about French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for cooperation with Russia. Stoltenberg said he agreed with the statement from Paris and that the NATO bloc as a whole was in favor of keeping the lines of communication with Moscow open.
Stoltenberg added that dialogue was necessary because Russia is NATO’s “closest” and “biggest” neighbor and it’s important to “strive for a better relationship.” He then went on to take questions from journalists representing Sky News, the BBC, the Washington Post and North Macedonia’s Telma TV, among others.
Yet, when the opportunity arose for the NATO secretary general to take a question from a Russian journalist, time was up — and the decision was final. What happened to those lines of communication?
Having sat patiently through the press conference and not been called upon, one Russian reporter piped up as the event concluded to ask if Stoltenberg would permit “one question from Russia, please!”
Stoltenberg lingered at the podium for a couple of seconds, looking toward an aide who quickly jumped in to save him: “We said this was the last question, so I’m afraid time is pressing. Thank you,” she said before swiftly ushering him off stage.
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