Red telephones: NATO initiates hotline to Russia's Defense Ministry


© AP Photo/ Rahmat Gul

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia's Ministry of Defense have set up a direct military-to-military communication link to deal with any issues they might face amid mounting tensions, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

"NATO and Russia's military command maintain communications links. NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the chairman of the NATO Military Committee have received permission to get in contact with their Russian colleagues," Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said, citing sources in the North Atlantic Alliance.

NATO declined to clarify when the telephone line was set up but said that communications channels would always remain open, the media outlet noted. Russia has reportedly already received the telephone numbers.

The idea is based on an initiative by Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the newspaper said. In December, he urged the establishment of a direct link between Moscow and NATO to respond to any crisis regarding the civil war in Ukraine should it arise.

The initiative mirrors a famous communications channel between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War. A Moscow - Washington hotline, often referred to as the "red telephone," was established in 1963 following the Cuban missile crisis.