Russia does not intend to join NATO soon - defense minister

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BRUSSELS, June 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia does not intend to join NATO in the near future, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said after the session of the Russia-NATO Council.

Ivanov said this in reply to a journalist's question about one of the bilateral meetings of NATO defense ministers.

"I did not attend this meeting for an obvious reason. Russia is not a NATO member," the minister said.

Russia plans to hold military exercises with NATO members having proper military potential, he added.

According to Ivanov, Russia's main partners in this sphere are the United States, France, Germany and Italy.

"We intend to continue this practice in the future," he said.

Russia will also hold joint exercises with India and China in the Asian region, he added.

Ivanov also spoke about regular military exercises of the Collective Security Treaty Organization member-states (CSTO: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Armenia).

The minister also said, "The presence or placement of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe makes no sense given the current situation."

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