`Nato poses no threat,' says Russia

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Nato no longer poses a threat to Russia, the Russian defence minister Igor Rodionov said last night.

General Rodionov was speaking after a meeting in Moscow with Michael Portillo, the British Secretary of State for Defence. Russian military leaders have repeatedly raised concerns about Nato's planned eastward expansion to embrace the new democracies of Eastern Europe.

Mr Portillo will today address the Russian general staff academy and is expected to make further proposals for military co-operation between Russia and the Western alliance. Christopher Bellamy - Mosco