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A rare meeting between two military leaders in Russia and NATO

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov and NATO general commander Kurtz Scaparotti met face to face at a rare meeting on Thursday in a bid to ease the worst East-West tensions since the Cold War.

US General Scaparotti and Jerasimov met in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, less than a week after the United States, Britain and France launched missile strikes on Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack.

NATO and the Russian Defense Ministry said in separate statements that they discussed military maneuvers and troop movements, accusing each other of deploying dangerous forces in the Baltic states and Eastern Europe.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Scaparotti and Gerasimov discussed “NATO affairs and Russian military activities in Europe.”

NATO said the meeting “focused on issues of military status and training,” a defensive term meant to avoid military incidents that could lead to war. “The military commanders took the opportunity … to enhance transparency and predictability (events).”

The Russian side said the officials also talked about the seven-year-old civil war in Syria, where Moscow and the West support different parties to the conflict and fight the organization of the Islamic state.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that further strikes against Syria would provoke global chaos.