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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lebed to Visit NATO, Discuss Expansion Plans

Russian security chief Alexander Lebed said Tuesday he has accepted an invitation to visit NATO headquarters in Brussels on Oct. 7 to 8.


The invitation came from Javier Solana, the alliance's secretary-general.


President Boris Yeltsin has approved the trip, presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said.


Lebed told Itar-Tass he will warn NATO officials that their plans to expand the alliance eastward may prompt Russia to respond, noting that the plans already are reviving "alliance thinking."


Asked his reaction to the plans, he was quoted as saying: "This indicates that the world has become unipolar."


Another top Russian official, Defense Minister Igor Rodionov, will meet with his NATO counterparts next week in Norway, a ministry official said.


It will be Rodionov's first trip abroad since he was appointed in July, and the first time a Russian minister has attended NATO's yearly "informal" defense meeting.


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization had invited Rodionov to the gathering of allied defense ministers as part of efforts to build closer ties with Moscow.


The meeting, to be held Sept. 25 to 26 in Bergen, is expected to be dominated by discussions of peacekeeping in Bosnia after the end of this year, when the current force is scheduled to leave.