Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says his country is prepared to end all ties with NATO, over growing differences with the Western alliance on Russia's military incursion into Georgia.
Mr. Medvedev said Monday that any decision to sever links with NATO would be difficult for both sides. But he told reporters in Sochi, Russia will survive, and that any break-up will be precipitated by the West.
The comments came just days after Russia informed NATO that it is halting military cooperation with the Western alliance.
The Russian leader also accused NATO members of "provoking" increasingly strained ties with Moscow. He mentioned NATO expansion and said NATO bases surround his country "from all sides."
Top Russian leaders have broadly criticized Georgian and Ukrainian aspirations for NATO membership. Both also condemned a U.S. plan to provide NATO with a missile interceptor system for deployment in eastern Europe.
Russia calls the proposed missile shield a threat to its security. The United States says the system - limited to 10 missile interceptors - is aimed at protecting the United States and its allies from attacks by what it describes as rogue governments such as Iran.