Russia Will Respond to NATO Membership Invitation to Montenegro, Kremlin SaysRussia | December 2, 2015, Wednesday // 16:25| views
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a ceremony of receiving diplomatic credentials from foreign ambassadors in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 26 November 2015. Photo EPA/BGNES
Russia will have to react to NATO’s invitation to Montenegro to join the Alliance, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
"Moscow has always noted at various levels that the continuing expansion of NATO and NATO’s military infrastructure to the East, of course, cannot but lead to response actions from the East, namely from the Russian side, in ensuring security interests and supporting the parity of interests," Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, according to TASS.
Peskov, however, said it was too early to speak about any particular action. He declined to comment whether a reaction would follow from President Vladimir Putin.
The president, the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry are yet to announce their position on the issue, he added.
The Russian President is going to deliver a state of the nation address to Parliament on Thursday.
NATO foreign ministers invited Montenegro to start accession talks to become the 29th member of the US-led military alliance at a session of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels earlier on Wednesday. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the invitation to the Balkan state wasn’t directed against Russia.
The invitation comes at a time of strained relations between Moscow and the West over a number of issues: the Russian support for rebels in eastern Ukraine, the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria and last week’s downing of a Russian warplane by a jet fighter of NATO member Turkey.
The invitation to Montenegro is NATO's first expansion into eastern Europe since Albania and Croatia joined six years ago. Membership talks are expected to start at the beginning of 2016 and take about a year to complete.