The Russian Defense Ministry has denied claims that Gen. Valery Gerasimov has communicated with Adm. Rob Bauer, a senior NATO official
Russia's top military commander, Valery Gerasimov, has not communicated with the chair of NATO's Military Committee, Rob Bauer, contrary to reports in Western media outlets, the Russian Defense Ministry has stated.
Reports about "typical" conversations between the two military officials and an agreement on the "safe passage of ships in the Black Sea" are "an invention from the start to finish," a ministry statement released on Wednesday said.
Earlier, the EU-focused news outlet EurActiv cited a NATO source as claiming that the two had regular exchanges aimed at de-escalating the conflict, particularly in the Black Sea, and that the parties had agreed to "be careful" to avoid accidents.
The source added that some Eastern European members of the bloc "raised their reservations" about alleged contact between Bauer and Gerasimov.
The Dutch admiral served as the Netherlands' chief of defense before becoming the chair of NATO's Military Committee, which comprises the defense chiefs of all member states. While Bauer is the topmost adviser on military strategy to the North Atlantic Council, NATO's decision-making body, General Gerasimov heads the Russian General Staff, a position equivalent to that of a chief of defense in NATO states.
The EurActiv source claimed that the US, Türkiye, and nations in western and southern Europe "fortunately" countered a push by the UK, Eastern European, and Scandinavian bloc members for "a zero-sum approach" in relations with Russia.
Berlin's role in the alliance has been reduced to virtually nothing, the outlet claimed. "Germans pay, give and don't speak," the source was quoted as saying. Nevertheless, NATO members were mostly on the same page in terms of supporting Ukraine, as long as it didn't compromise their own national security.
The report also claimed that Finland and Sweden were unlikely to join the US-led bloc before June next year, when Türkiye holds national elections. Ankara blocked their accession, claiming that the two nations were not committed to fighting terrorist groups threatening Turkish national security.