The top officers of Russia's General Staff consider it inexpedient for Russia to join the military organisation of NATO, First Deputy Chief of Russia's General Staff Colonel-General Yuri Baluyevsky said at a briefing for journalists on Friday. According to him, he clearly sees no need for Russia to join the military organisation of NATO. As the General noted, "Russia is a self-contained state capable of solving national and military security problems on its own." The General confirmed the official position of the Russian leadership with regard to NATO, saying that Russia was not going to queue up for NATO membership. She is ready to make reciprocal steps provided they do not affect national security. Simultaneously, Yuri Baluyevsky slammed the current mechanism of cooperation between Russia and NATO--the Joint Permanent Council. Everything done within this Council is a waste of time. At the same time, the first deputy chief of the General Staff stressed that Russia should directly participate in all security processes in Europe. He added that there should be no changes in the operative and combat training of Russian armed forces due to the positive trends in Russia-USA and Russia-NATO relations.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18