Sergei Ivanov: NATO's actions worry us

A reader of the popular Russian weekly newspaper, Argumenty i Fakty, asked: "What can Russia do to stop NATO from approaching our borders?"

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov answered: "If NATO military infrastructure is created in the Baltic countries, any military and political actions Russia takes will correspond to the principles of self-defence. We do not have illusions about why the Baltic countries have been admitted into NATO and why it has already started deploying its planes there. This has nothing to do with the fight against terrorism. I believe that if our partners treat our concerns seriously, they will do everything possible to prevent Russia's estrangement and not to inflict damage on it. We would welcome the beginning of negotiations on these problems.

So far, however, NATO's actions worry us. The decision made at alliance's summit in 2002 to carry out military operations, in cases of necessity, outside the territories of NATO member-countries is especially alarming. If this new principle of the preventive use of force is regarded as a legitimate one in international affairs, then Russia will have no other choice than to adapt itself to the situation and to act adequately to ensure its national interests."

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