Nato does not want new arms race, says its chief Jens Stoltenberg

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks as he holds a joint media availability with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, Ontario on April 4, 2018.
Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks as he holds a joint media availability with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, Ontario on April 4, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

OTTAWA (AFP) - Nato does not want a new arms race with Russia, the alliance's secretary-general said on Wednesday (April 4) amid heightened tensions following a former spy's poisoning in England.

"We don't want a new arms race, so we are focused on how can we respond" in a "firm strong predictable, but also measured and defensive, way," Mr Jens Stoltenberg told reporters alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa.

"We don't want a new Cold War," he said.

He made the remarks when asked about the possibility of new Nato sanctions against Russia after former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned in England on March 4.

London and its allies have blamed Moscow for the attack, citing the use of a Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok, Russia's record of targeting dissidents and its history of aggression in recent years, from Crimea to cyber-attacks.

"We will continue to strive for a more constructive relationship with Russia," Stoltenberg said.