Russian military doctrine off target - NATO chief
TALLINN, April 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia continues to view NATO as a major security threat rather than an ally, while Moscow's military doctrine does not reflect reality, the head of the Western military alliance said on Friday.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Russian leaders were still caught up in "old fashioned" thinking as NATO elaborated a strategic concept for future challenges.
Speaking after a NATO meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, he stressed the importance of cooperation on missile defense that would protect the European and Russian populations against "a real missile threat."
He said, however, that Russia's new military doctrine was an impediment to such cooperation.
"Russian military doctrine does not reflect the real world," he said. "It states that NATO constitutes a major danger, which is not the reality. I would urge the Russians to forget this old fashioned Cold War rhetoric and instead embark with NATO on shared areas."
He said there was "potential for further Russian engagement," especially in such areas of common interest as terror, drug trafficking and piracy at sea.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev previously dismissed speculation that Moscow's new military doctrine would see a return of Cold War tensions. He denied NATO was singled out as the main threat to Russia's national security in a new military doctrine that he approved in February, but he did stress that NATO's "endless" expansion was a real cause for concern.
Since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, NATO has expanded from 12 members to 28, absorbing the majority of Moscow's Cold War allies in Eastern Europe and some former Soviet republics.
In February, Romania and Bulgaria said they were in talks with U.S. President Barack Obama's administration on deploying elements of the U.S. missile shield on their territories from 2015.
The move came after Obama scrapped last September plans by the Bush administration to deploy missile-defense elements in the Czech Republic and Poland due to a reassessment of the threat from Iran. Russia fiercely opposed the plans as a threat to its national security.
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