NATO Chief Says Russia Relations Can’t Be Repaired Even After Fighting

Germany's Scholz has a different view and says economic cooperation with Russia could be possible after the war

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that trust between the West and Russia has been “destroyed” and that relations couldn’t return to normal even after the fighting ended in Ukraine, CNBC reported on Monday.

“Even if the fighting ends, we will not return to some kind of normal, friendly, relationship with Russia. Trust has been destroyed,” Stoltenberg said. “I think the war has had long-lasting consequences for the relationship with Russia.”

Stoltenberg claimed that NATO tried to build good relations with Russia after the Cold War, but the alliance ratcheted up tensions with Moscow by expanding up to Russia’s border. When NATO expansion began in the 1990s, George Kennan, the late American diplomat credited with crafting the containment strategy during the Cold War, said there was no reason “whatsoever” for bringing the alliance closer to Russia.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday expressed a different view than Stoltenberg, saying economic cooperation with Russia could be possible after the war. “At the moment, the relations we have are being reduced, reduced, reduced,” Scholz said, according to Reuters. He added that “a Russia that ends the war” should be given a chance to resume economic ties.

Germany’s options for resuming trade with Russia have been limited by the sabotage of the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines, although Russia says one line of Nord Stream 2 wasn’t damaged. In the years prior to Russia invading Ukraine this past February, Germany was under heavy pressure from the US to scrap Nord Stream 2, which has never delivered gas to Germany.

Construction of Nord Stream 2 was completed despite US sanctions, but Scholz paused the pipeline around the time Russia launched its invasion. Russia stopped delivering gas through Nord Stream 1 in September due to Western sanctions.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.