'We don't interfere in elections': NATO chief on Putin seeking new term

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NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday "we don't interfere in elections" when asked about Vladimir Putin seeking a new term at the Kremlin -- amid deep concerns about Russian meddling in numerous European votes.

Putin, in power for the past 18 years, confirmed he would run in the March presidential election, where he is expected to win easily and become the longest-serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin.

Stoltenberg refused to comment in detail on Putin's decision.

"We don't interfere in Russian presidential elections so it's not for me to have any opinion on the presidential elections in Russia," he said.

Stoltenberg said NATO would continue its current approach of "deterrence and dialogue" with Russia -- keeping up occasional high-level political contacts while maintaining a military stance aimed at deterring Russian aggression.

NATO's relations with Russia are at their lowest level since the Cold War following Moscow's annexation of Crimea and allegations of using cyber tactics and disinformation to sow instability in Europe.

© 2017 AFP

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