Russia does not dramatize the situation around NATO expansion, said official representative of the Russian foreign ministry Alexander Yakovenko. According to him, Moscow respects the legitimate right of every state to decide in what international structure it will participate.
"At the same time," he stressed, "it is obvious for us that there is no objective necessity of NATO expansion in the present-day conditions because the threat which the military-defensive alliance could counter has long been the thing of the past." "The NATO expansion is going on automatically in many respects, and we continue to believe that it does not add to the security of the alliance, candidate members and Russia," the diplomat pointed out.
"In particular," he continued, "we cannot be indifferent to the NATO military potential drawing nearer to Russian borders, at a distance of several dozen kilometres from St. Petersburg." The Baltic countries' joining the adjusted CFE treaty and the spreading to their territories of military deterrence measures remain the key issue for Russia in this context. The observance of the rights of our countrymen in the Baltic countries also remains very important.
"Being responsible for the expansion decision, NATO simultaneously assumes a part of responsibility for the positive settlement of these problems," Yakovenko declared in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta." "Russia does not dramatize the situation around the NATO expansion, but it is important that this decision should not roll back the relations between Russia and the Alliance from the level achieved in Rome."