December 3, 2019 / 1:25 PM / 2 days ago

Putin criticizes NATO expansion as alliance holds London summit

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin waves to the media prior to a meeting of leaders of the BRICS emerging economies at the Itamaraty palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, November 14, 2019. Pavel Golovkin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday criticized NATO’s continued expansion, something he suggested was pointless given the absence of a threat from Moscow following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Speaking at a meeting of Russian military leaders in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin said NATO expansion posed a threat to Russia, but said he hoped that a shared interest in common security would prevail.

Despite tensions, Putin said Russia remained ready to cooperate with the military alliance.

He was speaking as U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at European allies before a NATO anniversary summit in London, singling out France’s Emmanuel Macron for “very nasty” comments on the alliance and Germany for spending too little on defense.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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