MOSCOW, November 10 (RIA Novosti) - NATO countries have realized that they will not benefit from taking on new members from the post Soviet space in the foreseeable future, Russia's envoy to the alliance said on Tuesday.
Moscow has strongly opposed ex-Soviet Georgia and Ukraine's plans to join NATO.
"I believe that at last NATO states have come to an understanding that from the point of view of entirely Western selfish interests, the further expansion of NATO to the East is of no benefit to the West, at least for the next 10 to 15 years," Dmitry Rogozin told Vesti 24 TV channel.
However, he said that the reluctance to admit new members is not due to Russia's protests, but to complications within the alliance.
NATO admitted three former Eastern Bloc countries - Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic - in 1997, and seven other Eastern European states, including the three ex-Soviet Baltic countries, in 2004.
In expanding eastwards, NATO has "acquired countries with almost zero military potential, which cannot make any useful contribution to the military operations of NATO. On the other hand, these countries are politically unstable... As a result, NATO has lost out - it has not become stronger in military terms, but has spread its belly to encompass this zone of instability, taking on responsibility for this instability," Rogozin said.