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    Russia, NATO

    NATO, Russia Have Mutual Interest in Closer Cooperation, Bloc's Ex-Chief Says

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    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia are mutually interested in enhancing cooperation, former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen claimed.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Speaking with Sputnik on Thursday, Rasmussen said, "I think we have a mutual interest in cooperating and cooperating even closer than we do."

    The former secretary general noted that when he took office in August 2009, he made it one of his priorities to develop what he called "a strategic partnership between NATO and Russia."

    "I believed that this partnership could further develop until February-March 2014 when resident Putin attacked Ukraine and illegally annexed Crimea into the Russian Federation," Rasmussen stated.

    He noted that he had to change his mind after that and adapt to the new security situation in Europe.

    Russian relations with Western nations soured following disagreements over the crisis in Ukraine. The United States and the European Union imposed sanctions against Russia after Crimea held a referendum in 2014 in which a vast majority of its residents decided to reunify with Russia.

    Washington and its allies have accused Moscow of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied the allegations of interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs.

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    NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Russia
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