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Lavrov says Russia does not see NATO as a threat

LONDON, April 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia views NATO as a key factor in Euro-Atlantic security, and not as a threat, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"To us, NATO is one of the objective key factors of Euro-Atlantic security, not least security near our borders," Lavrov told the BBC Russian service.

"Russia does not view the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as an inherent source of danger," he said.

However, the diplomat criticized NATO over its policy of enlargement.

"Obviously, Russia cannot ignore the movement of NATO's military infrastructure closer to our borders. The bloc's expansion is being accompanied by the introduction of air patrols, modernization of airports, and the establishment of bases on the territory of newly admitted member states," he said.

He stressed Russia will continue to take all of these factors into account in its foreign policy and military planning, in the interests of ensuring national security.

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