Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a conciliatory note in talks with NATO leaders on Friday, claiming that a new Cold War was in “nobody’s interests” despite terse disagreements over the future expansion of the alliance and U.S. moves to install missile defense bases in eastern Europe.
Speaking to reporters at NATO’s summit meeting in Bucharest, Putin warned that the proposed extension of NATO membership to the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia would be seen in Moscow as a direct threat to Russian security.
“I heard them saying today that the expansion is not directed against Russia. But it’s the potential, not intentions that matters,” Putin said, The Associated Press reported. But Putin insisted Russia, which agreed a deal Thursday allowing the transit of non-lethal NATO supplies across its territory to Afghanistan, was prepared to cooperate with NATO providing its interests were taken into account. “Let’s be friends, guys, and engage in an honest dialogue,” Putin said. “We want to be heard, and we want see problems that divide us solved. None of the global players Europe, the United States or Russia is interested in returning to the past. And we have no ideological differences.”
Putting a missile umbrella on the boarders of Russia is not exactly a …friendly move!