Nato is not seeking confrontation with Russia and does not want another Cold War, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has told the BBC.
The planned deployment of 4,000 extra troops to eastern Europe aims to prevent, not provoke conflict, he said.
Despite current tensions, the military alliance does not see Russia as a threat, he added.
Relations between the west and Russia are at their lowest point since the Cold War.
The US and European Union imposed sanctions on Russia following its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014.
The war in Syria has also been a flashpoint for tensions, with key Western powers accusing Russia of war crimes in its bombardment of opposition-held areas in support of the Syrian government.