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Russian army chief of staff voices concern over NATO expansion

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The chief of the General Staff of Russia's army said Friday he was concerned over NATO's unchanged policy, and its continued expansion despite changes to the international situation.
HELSINKI, November 17 (RIA Novosti) - The chief of the General Staff of Russia's army said Friday he was concerned over NATO's unchanged policy, and its continued expansion despite changes to the international situation.

As well as the setting up of NATO bases in the territory of Russia's former Soviet allies in the Baltic Region and Central Asia, Moscow strongly opposes Georgia and Ukraine's drive to join the Western military alliance.

Yury Balueyvsky said, "We used to have NATO and Warsaw Pact, which confronted each other with large armed forces. We have no Warsaw Pact today, and Russian politics is predictable, understandable and non-aggressive. Has the NATO bloc changed? It has only expanded."

He said NATO should explain why its main policies remain unchanged despite the changes in the international situation, and that Russian military officials are also concerned over the military status of new NATO members.

"We are concerned that these countries became a 'grey zone' after joining NATO, as they are no longer subjected to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty," Baluyevsky said.

The CFE treaty establishes limits on military hardware and troop numbers for all countries from the Atlantic to the Urals, and aims to establish a military balance on the European continent.

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