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Russian FM: Ties with NATO strained by disputes

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s foreign minister says a dispute over the U.S.-led missile defense plans and other frictions have strained Moscow’s ties with NATO.

Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that Moscow is continuing to seek guarantees that the planned shield wouldn’t pose a threat to Russia’s nuclear forces. He said the failure to negotiate a settlement was rooted in Washington’s refusal to accept any limitations on the missile shield.

The U.S. says the missile defense plan is aimed at fending off an Iranian missile threat, but Moscow has rejected the claim, saying the system may eventually grow powerful enough to threaten Russia’s nuclear deterrent.

Lavrov said Russia was ready to continue cooperate with NATO on Afghanistan and other issues. But he voiced grievances about the alliance’s expansion plans and its activities near Russian borders.

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