But western diplomats said Mr Yeltsin was backtracking after having gone too far in talks with President Lech Walesa of Poland in August. He told Mr Walesa it was up to Poland whether it joined Nato. Diplomatic sources said the Russian position was that states could decide their own affairs, but that security issues had to be viewed in an all-European context.
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Nato should not expand eastwards to embrace Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, Russia's President Boris Yeltsin warned, in a volte face intended to keep support of the military in his power struggle, Christopher Bellamy reports.