MOSCOW, June 16. /TASS/. NATO steps to expand its sphere of influence on other countries does not ramp up stability and security in Europe, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday, commenting on NATO’s decision to recognize Ukraine as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner.
"Undeniably, we paid attention to that," Peskov said, noting that Moscow’s position regarding the alliance edging closer to the Russian borders is consistent and well-known. "We always carefully treat NATO military infrastructure getting closer to our borders, we are forced to take measures to ensure our own security in this regard," the Kremlin representative noted. According to him, "taking into account NATO’s nature and its initial goals that NATO was created to achieve as a mechanism of confrontation," Russia has always carefully observed the process "when NATO absorbs new countries in various forms."
"We do not believe that it boosts security and stability in Europe," the Kremlin representative added.
Answering a question whether he believes that it is symbolic that NATO made the announcement on June 12, Russia Day, Peskov underlined, "It is up to representatives of the North Atlantic Alliance to contemplate symbolism of certain actions, it is not our concern." "In this case, we are paying attention to the nature of the processes happening," he concluded.
On Friday, the statement of Oana Lungescu, NATO spokesperson, was released in Brussels, notifying that the alliance had recognized Ukraine as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner. This status grants Kiev better access to NATO programs, drills and information exchanges.
However, the alliance stressed, "Ukraine’s status as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner does not prejudge any decisions on NATO membership." Ukraine became the sixth NATO partner after Georgia, Jordan, Australia, Finland and Sweden.