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Russian armed forces chief critical of Finnish-Nato cooperation

Russia's top military commander told a gathering in Helsinki Tuesday that Finland should not desire NATO membership. Instead, he offered closer cooperation with Russia.

Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia Nikolai Yegorovich Makarov gave a presentation Tuesday at an event organized by Finland's National Defence Courses Association at the University of Helsinki.

"Military cooperation between Russia and NATO is progressing well and is beneficial to both parties. In contrast, cooperation between Finland and NATO threatens Russia's security. Finland should not be desirous of NATO membership, rather it should preferably have tighter military cooperation with Russia," said Makarov.

Makarov accused Finland of supporting attempts by Georgian "revanchists" to retake South Ossetia and Abkhazia. He also questioned Finland's right to hold military exercises on its own territory.

"Who are they aimed against?" he asked.

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