Putin: Russia against NATO expansion

MOSCOW, May 31 (UPI) -- Russia opposes in principle NATO's expansion toward its borders, potentially admitting Ukraine and Georgia to its ranks, Prime Minister Vladamir Putin says.

The former Russian president said while both Ukraine and Georgia were denied admission to NATO's Membership Plan in April, Russia is against any expansion by the international group in general, RIA Novosti said Saturday.


"We are against NATO's enlargement on the whole, in principle," Putin said.

NATO was originally created to oppose the Soviet Union, so its global expansion in unnecessary given the union's collapse long ago, Putin said.

"There is no Soviet Union, and there is no such a threat anymore but this organization still exists," the prime minister said. "The question arises: Against whom do you build friendships?"

RIA Novosti said Putin was concerned that if Georgia and Ukraine are eventually allowed into NATO, missile systems would soon appear near Russia's borders.

"We are concerned that if these countries become part of NATO today, tomorrow we will see offensive missile systems deployed on their territory which will pose a serious threat to us," Putin said.

Latest Headlines