Russian Leader Putin Urges NATO to Become 'Political Organization'
In his latest bit of criticism against the North Atlantic Alliance, Russian President Vladimir Putin has described NATO as a throwback to the Cold War era.
Speaking on Friday in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe, Putin said NATO should be transformed into a "political organization" as soon as possible in order to do away with its alleged Cold War nature.
"It is incomprehensible why it's still around," Putin said, adding that Russia would like NATO to stay within the bounds of its statutory activity and not strive for global status, as cited by RIA Novosti.
Russia has been and will continue to be concerned by NATO expansion, Putin told Russian border troops stationed in the Central Asian state Tajikistan.
"Talk is one thing, but the deployment of some attack systems or missile defense systems near our borders is quite a different matter," he said.
"This poses genuine threats to our territory. Needless to say, in that case we will have to build our defense policy accordingly so as to neutralize these threats," the Russian leader elaborated, apparently referring to the NATO plans for the deployment of a US missile defense system in Europe that has been a matter of tensions for several years now.
On Friday, Russia got Tajikistan to agree to extend its lease of a military base by 30 years, until 2042, which according to analysts means that Russia will be massively involved in the "stabilizing" of Central Asia in the future.