MOSCOW, April 17 (Xinhua) -- President Vladimir Putin said Thursday Russia does not fear the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but called for a sober view over the bloc's potential further expansion.
"We have no fear -- I do not have and no one else should have this either. Yet we have to bear the realities in mind," Putin said in his annual live Q&A session with Russian public.
Responding to a remark that the NATO actions created "a suffocating feeling," Putin said: "We can suffocate them ourselves, don't be so afraid."
He admitted that the decisions on Crimea annexation were partially related to concerns over possible Ukraine's accession to NATO and the bloc's further military move in the Black Sea region, where Russia stations one of its flagship fleets.
"We have and we will bear in mind these circumstances and react accordingly," Putin said.
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