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NATO could refrain from expansion to provide international security, Putin says

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, January 12
“NATO could have refrained from expansion in order to help with international security, but the alliance wanted to be the ‘king’ and it has exacerbated the crisis in Europe,’ Russian President Vladimir Putin has told the German Bild newspaper.

According to him, NATO forces are doing nothing to combat international terrorism, while third-party groups openly fight Russia and provide ‘anti-state’ forces with political, financial and armed aid.

He said that the sanctions imposed by the West were unjust, as he claims that Russia has not invaded and occupied the Crimea.

According to him, the sanctions are aimed at restricting Russia’s power.

It is not the first time that the Russian leader has made such statements. He is never shy to criticize NATO, and portrays himself as a major protector of “suppressed” nations.

Ostensibly to defend its citizens and restore regional order, Russia invaded 20% of Georgia in 2008 and then occupied parts of Ukraine six years later, and continually strives to regain control of the former Soviet states.

Last year, NATO has taken a step towards expansion, with Montenegro being considered for membership as the 29th member of the alliance.

Naturally, Russia is firmly against NATO’s expansion.

However, unlike Montenegro, Georgia - which is also striving towards membership of the Alliance - faces serious territorial problems.

There were cases when NATO ignored Moscow and included new members in defiance of Russia’s wishes. However, in light of recent political and military events of the last two years, whether the alliance will be so bold with regards to Georgia is a matter of serious concern.

Russia openly states that it does not want to see NATO expand any further on its borders.

Even if Georgia fulfills and exceeds NATO’s membership requirements, Georgia’s inclusion will be a political decision. It will also serve as a test to discern how much NATO fears going against Moscow any further.