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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Eschews NATO Festivities

Russia will not attend a NATO ceremony in Belgium on Tuesday to welcome Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic to the Western military alliance, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

"We are not attending this kind of ceremony in any of the capitals," Vladimir Rakhmanin said at a news conference.

"Our position on the expansion of NATO is well known to be negative. It is negative because our interest is for security of the whole of Europe and not for the creation of new dividing lines," he said.

The three former Soviet satellites' entrance to the Western military alliance was being marked Tuesday by a flag-raising ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The countries formally joined the alliance on Friday at a ceremony in the United States.

Russia has long lamented NATO's expansion. It would prefer alternative security arrangements for Europe.