President Putin: NATO's eastward expansion is not tragedy

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated that he does not view NATO's expansion as a tragedy. Every sovereign country has every right to join any organisation whatsoever if it likes to, the Russian leader emphasised in an interview with China's Xinghua news agency and television ahead of his visit to that country.

President Putin reaffirmed Russia's stance on the alliance's expansion - "the process is not a solution to the major problems the humanity is facing today." "A military-political bloc like NATO does not need to be enlarged to counter the present day threats, the most serious of which, I believe, is international terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons," said the Russian head of state.

President Putin pointed to the fact that Russia itself had stepped up contacts with NATO and the Russian leaders were satisfied with the way their co-operation was developing. He did not rule out that Russia might continue expanding interaction with the alliance, the prospect contingent on whether NATO adapts itself to tackling new tasks and offering an adequate reaction to new menaces, and if the organisation's activities do not run counter to Russia's national interests," said the president.

Russia does not have to join NATO to ensure its security, pointed out the Russian leader.

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