Aleksander Lebed said that if NATO "has sufficient strength and money, then expand," Russian and Western agencies reported on June 18. Lebed added that Russia is "no longer fighting with anyone," and has sufficient strength "not to redraw the political map," suggesting indifference to whether NATO accepts new members or not. However, he said that he would "find a way to make clear to British and American taxpayers" that the alliance's expansion would cost them about $250 billion. His remarks mirror comments he made in Nezavisimaya Gazeta last month, when he suggested that Russia need not worry about NATO expansion, as Western politicians and voters would soon discover that its costs do not match the meager benefits it would bring. He suggested Russia could best cope with NATO expansion plans by reforming its military, to demonstrate that Russia presents no threat to its neighbors.
3. Jul 1996 at 0:00 | From press reports of TASR and SITA