Medvedev warns on NATO expansion

MOSCOW: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday warned that Moscow would push back on NATO expansion and called for a new European security "matrix" to counterbalance the Western alliance. "If we can create such a new matrix of relations, I think this would be effective," Medvedev said in an interview with Rossia television, reiterating his previous calls for a new Euro-Atlantic security framework. "And it would certainly be better than moving NATO in all directions. In any case, such approaches do not suit us and we will react to them," he added, without giving further details. Medvedev also criticised NATO exercises in Georgia which began earlier this month despite angry objections from Moscow. "What is better: creating a new security architecture or carrying out military exercises in the immediate vicinity of those places where just recently, less than a year ago, there were military actions?" he said. Russia and Georgia have been at loggerheads since fighting a brief war last August over the rebel region of South Ossetia, and Moscow is extremely wary of any cooperation between NATO and Georgia's pro-Western government. NATO says that its exercises in Georgia -- involving at least 1,100 soldiers from 10 NATO countries and six of the alliance's partner countries -- were not directed against Russia and were planned months before the war broke out. Medvedev has been pushing his idea for a new pan-European security framework for over a year, but the plan has mostly received a cool reception in the West.