President Vladimir Putin criticized NATO’s steady expansion, something he suggested was pointless given the absence of a threat from Moscow following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, and Communism as the major foe of the Alliance.
Addressing a meeting of Russian military leaders in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin said NATO expansion posed a threat to Russia, but added he hoped that a shared interest in common security would prevail.
Despite tensions, Moscow remained ready to cooperate with the military alliance.
Turkey announced it will oppose NATO’s plans for enhancing defence of three Baltic countries if the Alliance does not recognize militant groups that Ankara defines as terrorist, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, ahead of a NATO alliance summit in London.
Relations between Turkey and its NATO allies have been strained over a number of issues, ranging from Ankara’s decision to purchase Russian air defense systems S-400 to policy vis-à-vis Syria. Several NATO members condemned Turkey’s decision to launch an offensive into northeastern Syria against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.
Ankara has refused to back NATO defense plan for the Baltics and Poland until it receives more support for its battle with the YPG, which it assesses as a terrorist organization.