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NATO Enlargement Creates Impression Of Attempts To Replace UN - Putin

NOVO-OGARYOVO. March 8 (Interfax) - The continued NATO enlargement creates the impression that attempts are being made to position the organization as a substitute to the UN, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"You get the impression that attempts are being made to set up an organization that would be a substitute for the UN. Humankind is unlikely to agree with such an architecture of future international relations, and I believe the potential for conflict would only increase," Putin said at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday.

"One can agree or disagree with this, but NATO is already exceeding the limits of its jurisdiction," the Russian president said.

"We have nothing against helping Afghanistan, but why NATO is doing this is a question mark. It is not NATO's problem, and everyone realizes this perfectly," he said.

Putin also said Russia's position on NATO's enlargement remained unchanged. "We believe that endless enlargements of a military and political bloc in the modern environment, where there is no confrontation between two mutually hostile systems, is not only senseless but harmful and counterproductive," he said.