16:33 GMT26 February 2021
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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)
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    Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Sputnik that he regrets the alliance's military buildup near the Russian border but considers it necessary.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — NATO has been reinforcing its military presence in Europe, particularly in Eastern European states, since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, citing Russia's alleged interference in that conflict as justification for the move. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, calling NATO's military buildup near Russia's borders provocative.

    "NATO does not represent any threat whatsoever against Russia, but, of course, we have an obligation to defend our members against any attacks <…> so, in light of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, we have to react to that situation and we have to deploy more resources to Romania, to Bulgaria, to Poland that are all at the border of Russia. I regret to say, but that’s how it is," Rasmussen said.

    NATO may resume cooperation with Russia only when the conflict in eastern Ukraine has been solved, the ex-chief noted in an interview with Sputnik.

    "Of course, it can't be business as usual as long as Russia continues to destabilize eastern Ukraine, so that's our problem. My plea is that Russia, in accordance with the Minsk deal, withdraws from eastern Ukraine and that border control between Russia and Ukraine is restored so that it is Ukraine that has border control. Then, of course, we can talk about resuming some of these activities," Rasmussen said.

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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)

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    Tags:
    NATO buildup, military buildup, NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Ukraine, Russia
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