RUSSIA REGARDS NATO EXPANSION AS BIG STRATEGIC MISTAKE

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MOSCOW, April 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia believes that the expansion of NATO is a large strategic mistake, Vladimir Chizhov, the deputy foreign minister, said at a press conference at RIA Novosti.

"We regard this policy as a big strategic mistake," Mr. Chizhov said, "an attempt to solve 21st century security problems with 20th century answers. But, certainly, every state has the right to make a mistake." "Even if Ukraine's idea about joining NATO becomes state policy and gets practical measurements, it is not in the near future," he said.

In regards to Ukraine joining the EU, Mr. Chizhov noted that Russia discussed issues that "concern both Kiev and Moscow in connection with the expansion of the European Union." "Ukraine has the same concerns about quotas, antidumping procedures and the status of Ukrainian citizens working in EU countries," the deputy minister said.

However, Mr. Chizkhov added that this issue was for another day and that at the current stage, the practical plans were to develop a working plan within the framework of the European Union.

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