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ST.PETERSBURG, June 2 / TASS / The lack of instruments for cooperation between Russia and NATO is bad, it deprives sides of opportunity to fight terrorism, said Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 2017 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.
"The absence of such cooperation instruments [Russian Federation and NATO) is bad, because it does not give us the opportunity to work constructively to stop the issues on today's agenda," said he.
Putin reminded that Russia was trying to establish a constructive dialogue with the Alliance, even created the "Russia-NATO" council. "But all this ceased to exist, in reality, it’s not working, and we did not initiated and it’s not our fault," the Russian leader said. He recalled the meeting of high-ranking representatives, overseeing security issues that took place in the Tver Region a few weeks ago. Overall the meeting was attended by representatives of 95 countries. "And many representatives from the American continent, from Europe are whispering in our ear 'in Brussels and in Washington, they were persuading us not to go to Russia," said Putin. "What is that? People who take on that position, what was on their minds?"
According to the president, security professionals want cooperation with Russia, while the politicians don't. "People (politicians) travel in armored vehicles, they are safe, they do not feel threatened," he stressed. "But if this happens, then we will receive strikes - and in Germany, and in Brussels, and in the United States, and in Russia," warned Putin. He again called for joining forces in the fight against terrorism and assured that Russia is ready to cooperate with those countries that are ready to solve this problem in a constructive way.
While answering questions on what Russia's take is on quarrels inside NATO, Putin said with a smile that "In a sense that NATO can fall apart, then, these quarrels can help us, but we have yet to see that."
President Putin recalled that NATO was created as a tool of the "cold war" in the fight against the USSR and its allies. Now the USSR is gone, and NATO continues to exist as an instrument of US foreign policy, he believes.
He also recalled the conversation about the transformation of the Alliance into a political organization. "If that happens, that's won't be a bad thing, but so far that's not happening," Putin said.
He also commented on US demands towards its allies to increase defense spending. "If you're not going to attack anyone, why increase military spending?" President Putin asked.