MOSCOW, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin referred to NATO Friday as a throwback to the Cold War era and said it should transformed into a political organization.
"It is incomprehensible why it's still around," he said of the military alliance of North American and European governments founded in 1949. He said Russia would prefer to see NATO stay within its bounds of statutory activity and not strive for global status.
NATO -- formally, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- began as an alliance among 12 Western countries and now has 28 member states.
Putin said Russia remains wary of NATO expansion, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Friday.
"Talk is one thing, but the deployment of some attack systems or missile defense systems near our borders is quite a different matter. This poses genuine threats to our territory. Needless to say, in that case we will have to build our defense policy accordingly so as to neutralize these threats," he said.