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Kremlin vows to counter NATO expansion towards Russian borders

June 08, 15:04 UTC+3

Peskov stressed the expansion "threatens Russia's security and the balance of forces in the Eurasian region"

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© AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

ASTANA, June 8. /TASS/. Moscow is concerned over the expansion of NATO towards Russia’s borders and will take steps to restore balance, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

"Traditionally, Moscow mistrusts and is concerned over NATO’s expansion towards our borders. We believe this threatens our security and the balance of forces in the Eurasian region," Peskov said.

"Certainly, Russia is taking all the necessary measures to re-balance the situation and defend its own interests and security," he said commenting on reports that Ukraine’s parliament passed a bill on Thursday stipulating that accession to NATO is a priority of the country’s foreign policy.

Ukraine's chances of joining NATO 

Civil war continues in Ukraine, the final decision on Kiev’s accession to NATO will be made by Brussels, Peskov reminded when asked if Ukraine had any chance of joining NATO (according to NATO’s rules only a country which is not facing any domestic conflicts and territorial disputes can become a member).

"It is not for us to make this decision," Peskov said.

"In fact, it is a country where civil war is going on, but the final decision will be made in Brussels [where the NATO headquarters is located]," the Kremlin spokesman added.

Earlier on Thursday, Ukraine’s parliament passed a bill stipulating that accession to NATO is a priority of the country’s foreign policy.

In December 2014, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada voted to drop non-aligned status. President Pyotr Poroshenko pledged that by 2020 Ukraine should be fully compatible with NATO troops, declaring membership in the alliance as the country’s strategic goal. Poroshenko also vowed that Kiev would hold a referendum on Ukraine’s accession to NATO. However, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that despite Ukraine’s waiving its non-bloc status, its NATO membership was a matter of distant future. Experts say Ukraine would not be able to get NATO membership in the next 20 years.

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