Thaw in relations between Nato and Russia?
The Russian Defence Ministry has invited representatives of Nato to Moscow to discuss security in the Baltic Sea region. Russia wants an agreement under which the military aircraft of both sides will only be allowed to fly over the Baltic with their transponders switched on. Commentators all agree that Nato should respond positively to Moscow's invitation to talk.
Putin offers chance for dialogue
The West must not pass up on this chance for dialogue, Ilkka urges:
“Even if the Russian Defence Ministry is making no further statements about the invitation, it should be viewed positively. Now all the Baltic states and Nato will sit down at the same table to talk about security problems that are of concern to everyone. With this invitation Vladimir Putin has solidified his image in his country as a peacemaker. His initiative shows the negotiating partners that it is possible to overcome threats and accusations in the Baltic region and start a constructive dialogue. Putin has now come halfway. The invitation offers a chance to ease tensions between Russia and the West.”
Best to accept the invitation
The Baltic states should accept Moscow's invitation, Russia watcher Kadri Liik of the European Council on Foreign Relations writes in Postimees:
“The mistrust is understandable, but if you take a closer look, this move on Russia's part should be cautiously welcomed. ... It is important to understand the context and significance of the offer. It is not a declaration of friendship or an attempt to settle the dispute. On the contrary, it's a sign that Moscow believes this state of conflict will persist and is keen to make it less explosive. This is an investment in conflict management. And in the current situation, that's very good.”