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    Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu prepares to take his seat for the two-day ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting and its Dialogue Partners Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 at Clark, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippine

    Russia Concerned by Efforts to Draw Finland, Sweden Into NATO - Defense Minister

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia is concerned about recent NATO moves aimed at involving the Nordic duo of Finland and Sweden into the alliance's activities and structures, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

    "The involvement of Finland and Sweden in NATO activities is worrying. A treaty was signed in May that provides for their full participation in the exercises of the alliance and the possibility of using its command-and-control systems for troops and weapons. In exchange, NATO received unrestricted access to the airspace and territorial waters of these countries," Shoigu said at a meeting of the Defense Ministry's Board.

    "Such steps by Western colleagues lead to the destruction of the existing system of global security and generate even greater mistrust, forcing us to take response measures," Shoigu stressed.

    Moscow hopes that the summit of Russian and US presidents, held on July 16 in Helsinki, will facilitate military cooperation between Russia, the United States and NATO, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

    "[Moscow expects] the Russia-US summit, held on July 16 in Helsinki, to give impetus to the deepening of our military cooperation with Washington and NATO and will allow for consolidation of our efforts to ensure common security," Shoigu said at a meeting of the Russian Defense Ministry's Board. 

    READ MORE: Russia's "Aggressive Actions" Undermine Euro-Atlantic Security — NATO

    NATO is making serious attempts to stop Russia from becoming a strong independent player on the international arena, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday at a meeting with top military commanders.

    "This trend clearly indicates that NATO countries "are trying in every possible way to prevent Russia from emerging as a geopolitical competitor, especially with its own allies," Shoigu stressed.

    According to Shoigu, "a negative trend has transpired recently, involving the deliberate increase in NATO military activities in eastern Europe.

    In recent years, NATO has been building up its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States saying it is protecting them against an alleged so-called "Russian aggression."

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    exercises, military, NATO, Russian Defense Ministry, Sergei Shoigu, Russia
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